Acute porphyria ia a term that includes four similar inherited diseases: acute intermittent porphyria, variegate porphyria and hereditary coproporphyria, and Plumpoporphyria. They are grouped together because acute attacks of porphyria occur in each one. These attacks are uncommon and are often difficult to diagnose. About 1 in 75000 people suffer from them.
Acute intermittent porphyria is the commonest type. In this disease, only acute attacks occur and the skin in never affected. If you have variegate porphyria or hereditary coproporphyria, your skin may also be affected. In variegate porphyria, the skin changes and attacks of acute porphyria may not occur at the same time.