Blood - Plasma

The Vampire Disease From The Dark Ages To Today

The Vampire Disease. Many people heard of it but do people really know what it is? Or what it means to the people who live with it? I have the illness at a mild level. Here’s how it goes!

Beware, Vampires Are Out Of The Coffin! Really, Read The Warning!

WARNING!!! MEDICAL CONDITION!!!

MATURE READERS: All my articles, Lex Wayne, are for adults.

TRIGGERS: Anxiety | Medical Condition | Gore | PTSD | Blood | Eyes | Skin | Medical Treatment | Mental Disorders.

This article contains graphic descriptions of the medical condition widely spread as ‘Vampire Disease’ and its symptoms. The following article is an in-depth dive into the illness and what it implies, and what it is like for people like me to live with this condition.

If you are sensitive to medical tools, treatment, and physical descriptions of diseases, I recommend skipping this article. Because the illness can relate to mental disorders, I also recommend ensuring all readers are comfortable with the nervous system and brain illnesses.

CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED!

The Confusion Between Dracula Symptom And Vampire Disease

Sufferers of Dracula Syndrome avoid bright light because it irritates their skin. It also hurts their eyes due to photosensitivity otherwise known as photophobia caused by high Vitamin A levels in their system.

Horror - Eye
Horror – Eye

Under ultraviolet rays, the patients’ skin tightens and shrinks. Because of a change in skin mobility around their mouths, the canine or incisors can appear more prominent and suggest fangs instead of a typical set of teeth.

The Origin Of The Vampire Disease

Vampires have been part of humankind’s folklore worldwide for millennia. This means that vampires crossed over to all continents and made their way into all ancient civilizations’ mythologies, folklores, and literature of the time.

However, how can a monster result from an actual disease? The Vampire Illness is a genetic—rectification later—blood disorder we know today as PORPHYRIA. This blood disorder is not new and dates back also millennia.

Romania — Poenari Castle
Romania — Poenari Castle

Porphyria is a condition that sparked like a flame to a paper in the Eastern Europe nobility. This includes the main Dark Ages kingdoms of Britain, France, Germany, and Scandinavia, among others. This could be because the nobility lived together and was worthy of an award for best soap opera. Since they had no television, you can imagine one can easily make the castle tour a few times.

DNA
DNA

Inbreeding doesn’t stop at physical deformation or mental disorders. Genetics is also a recurrent effect. Because it is primarily a genetic disorder and inbreeding would often happen in mediaeval times, porphyria would quickly spread among the nobility.

We know that cloning is not a solution to reproduction. The reason is simple: a copy of a copy loses quality. Every time a copy is made from a copy of the original pattern, it fails in quality control. With that said, because porphyria is a genetic defect, inbreeding would most likely cause a flaw in the DNA structure.

The Sunlight Exposure Kills The Vampire

The symptoms of porphyria had many people from all fields, from history to medicine, and scientists believed the illness was the origin of vampires. I think it is not the origin but indeed enforced the myth.

The main symptom is the sensitivity to ultraviolet rays on the skin. In some advanced cases, sunlight affects the skin by drying the outer layer and tightening it. More prolonged exposure means the skin has this leathery tightness to it. It can go as far as disfigurement.

In other cases, the skin can turn a shade of blue like a blackberry—I am talking about the colour. The rays affect the skin pigmentation and literally bruise the epidermis. It leaves a mark behind that cannot fade over time. It remains there.

In mild cases, like mine, ultraviolet rays create a rash, and the skin turns red. It creates what resembles a ‘heat rash’ and leaves behind blood scabs. The sensation is like skin sizzling, and the heat from the sun itself can also be hard to sustain.

Lex Ivy Wayne — Mild Porphyria Scabs
Lex Ivy Wayne — Mild Porphyria Scabs

This is why most people with porphyria walk around yearly with an anti-ultraviolet ray umbrella. People suffering from it also tend to either remain covered with clothing or avoid places without shade.

The Fangs That Feed The Vampire

When porphyria takes over patients not treated for the illness, and the condition turns to extreme results, it gets ugly. Not only can porphyria leave markings on the body for the remainder of one’s life, but it can also affect deeper layers.

Porphyria
Porphyria

Left untreated porphyria can spread to the mouth and cause disfigurement, as mentioned above. One result is the receding of the gums. Because the gums are retracting, it leaves more dental exposure creating the illusion of the patient’s incisors appearing like fangs.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Haemoglobin For Your Vampire Needs!

Again, going back to earlier days, even to the Dark Ages in Eastern Europe, the blood-drinking appeared across the board. Porphyria is a blood disorder, as established before, and causes various symptoms.

People with porphyria produce urine with a dark reddish colour to it. So, urine was a marker for the illness. It was a symptom when left untreated, as in mediaeval times until modern medicine. 

Today we know that women have menstruation once a month. Nevertheless, back in the Dark Ages, people called it ‘the bleeds,’ and early American settlers referred to it as ‘the curse’ until the sixties. 

However, people knew it was for women once a month, not every day. So, even back to kings and queens, ‘physicians’ would recommend that people suffering from this unknown disease drink blood to compensate for what they would lose. Those ‘doctors’ recommended animal blood, of course, because that’s totally by the book.

Blood Pavement
Blood Pavement

However, because of sunlight, people suffering from porphyria had to hunt after dark, leading villagers to believe they were vampires. That happened even more so when the patients suffered disfiguration because of the blood disorder.

The Smell Of Garlic To Protect From Vampire Bite

This is a common trait among vampires that garlic is a weapon. Of course, it all depends on the version of vampire you either read or watch on television. However, garlic is an essential part of history regarding vampire hunting, which was real in Victorian Times.

Garlic
Garlic

The Hotel Transylvania franchise shows us that vampires are intolerant to it, like humans are intolerant to lactose. They have gas. Meanwhile, we have Charlaine Harris‘ vampires from True Blood whose sense of smell is so acute and garlic so strong it has them gagging and nauseous.

HBO — True Blood
HBO — True Blood

Returning to people with porphyria, patients suffering from it cannot be around sulphur, which contains garlic. Sulphur can lead to a porphyria attack, leaving the patients in acute pain that can last for days in my personal experience.

A Crack In The Mirror And A Bloodstain On The Bed

Among vampire folklore, we find many ways to detect the creature. One of the most popular is that a vampire doesn’t have a reflection in a mirror. This telling of recognizing a vampire has many theories.

In ancient times, mirrors had a layer of silver to create a reflection, and vampires have an acute allergy to silver, which in itself has so many intriguing hypotheses! The lack thereof depends again on the kind of vampire one reads about or watches on television. But I digress.

An Exceptional English Example of an Antique Queen Anne Period Gilded Mirror
An Exceptional English Example of an Antique Queen Anne Period Gilded Mirror

The mirror folklore regarding vampires was one of the oldest after the Dark Ages when mirrors were common. But how could this be related to people with porphyria, since everyone has a reflection in mirrors?

It is quite simple, vanity. Well, I wouldn’t call it vanity, but it sounded more dramatic.

Extreme Untreated Porphyria-Cutaneous
Extreme Untreated Porphyria-Cutaneous

In extreme cases, people without treatment for porphyria suffer disfigurement, as mentioned earlier. What I didn’t say was that it only aggravates with time. The skin doesn’t receive proper oxygen because of the blood disorder not processing 02 the way it must because of the lack of red blood cells.

The lack of processed oxygen leads to the inevitable destruction of skin tissue, usually the face, leaving it to collapse on itself, eventually. No need to say why people with porphyria to that degree would avoid mirrors at all costs.

A Cross For My Vampire Thoughts

People with porphyria are not ‘Regan MacNeill‘ from The Exorcist and do not require an exorcism, but people in the Renaissance thought differently. People with porphyria suffered great pain and disfigurement, had to hunt for animal blood after dusk, couldn’t be in the sunlight, and so on.

Torture Rack
Torture Rack

The vampire hunting period coincided with the 300 Years of European Witch Hunt. However, the vampire hunt lasted from 1478 to 1834! Over six hundred alleged ‘vampires’ died at the stake—see what I did there?—burned alive. Those people were innocents and, most likely than not, porphyria patients.

People with the blood disease did not react to a crucifix, holy water, Holy Bible, prayers, or any other Catholic rituals. If they did, it probably coincided with a porphyria attack and nothing more. Sadly, back then, it meant they were vampires.

The Bible
The Bible

Furthermore, the 300 Years Of European Witch Hunt coincides with the infamous Spanish Inquisition. At a time when royalty wanted to dissociate itself from the Church to have a lawful court instead of one led by the Bible. To that effect, the Church tried to take over by creating havoc among people with the witch, werewolf, and vampire hunt.

This horrifying period in humankind’s history led to the death of so many people that history lost count. But we know that over six hundred were most likely people suffering from a genetic blood disorder called porphyria.

Quit Flashing The Light In My Vampire Eyes!

Porphyria can also create photosensitivity in the eyes. Photosensitivity results from high levels of Vitamin A in the system. It can be challenging to control the intake because each body is different, and even in low quantities, how one’s body processes the vitamin differs from another. 

So, it doesn’t really matter how careful one is. Vitamin A is abundant and hard to eliminate, even from a healthy diet.

Horror - Eye
Horror – Eye

When developing porphyria, I noticed how my sight changed, again in line with vampire folklore. I can see much clearer in the dark than a human with 20/20 eyesight. It’s a fantastic ‘super ability’ to possess.

Wolf's Eyes
Wolf’s Eyes

The downside is that my eyes easily hurt in daylight, and the pain is comparable to needles perforating my eyeballs. It creates long-lasting migraines, and every surface becomes a mirror for photons—light, to bounce off and get into my eyes.

For health necessities, I have a completely black room with blackout curtains to operate like a somewhat ‘normal’ person. The house has blackout curtains for each window, so I can walk around the house without sunglasses in bright daylight.

A Vampire And I May Never See The Light

People with porphyria need a pair of anti-ultraviolet sunglasses or 100% UV proof. It prevents migraines and watery eyes as well as the ‘Surfer Eye,’ or ‘Vampire Eye,’ called EYE PTERYGIUM.

Eye pterygium is the result of too many sun rays penetrating the eyes. Not telling your children to stop looking right into the sun. I’m talking about reflective surfaces. Dark colours prevent a lot of reflective or specular light from bouncing off. It’s an excellent place to start.

Eye Pterygium - 'Surfer Eye' - 'Vampire Eye'
Eye Pterygium – ‘Surfer Eye’ – ‘Vampire Eye’

If photosensitivity or photophobia is left untreated, eye pterygium is a significant possibility. What is it? Well, it’s a layer of flesh resembling the inside of the eyelid growing from the inner corner of the eyes over the eyeball until it covers the entire eye. 

The operation consists of removing the layer of flesh seen as a third eyelid. It’s to protect the pupils from too much light. But once you develop pterygium, it is very probable to have it again. I should know because I had it.

The only cure I know to protect the eyes from pterygium is to wear 100% UV-proof sunglasses every day of your life. Light bounces off the snow too! It doesn’t matter if you live in a northern country where winter takes eight months of the year—I live in Canada.

You say you live in the United Kingdom and should be okay. No, UV does not stop existing because it’s overcast. Sadly, light creeps everywhere, and it’s hard to avoid it. 

It’s quite hard to see depth with one eye or apply the cream on your eyeball because it’s all wet and doesn’t want to stick. That’s beside the pain and seeing the entire operation while it’s happening! But it’s better to wear appropriate sunglasses than the removal operation.

Did You Know One English King Was A Vampire?

When porphyria causes acute pain attacks, it causes mental fogging—temporary loss of awareness—and, of course, physical reactions to various things like the weight of a blanket, or even clothing, anything coming in contact with skin.

King George III
King George III

Historians believed that English King George III suffered from porphyria when reading about him for the longest time. Symptoms coincide with the blood disorder, and so did his reaction to the symptoms. 

However, the further psychological analysis points toward other possibilities for his madness but does not entirely erase the possibility of a ‘vampire king.’

What Porphyria Truly Is

What we know about the blood disorder today, aside from passing down generations, is the lack of less heme produced by the body. Heme is a crucial component of haemoglobin. It’s a protein found in red blood cells. It carries oxygen not only to the lungs but also to body tissues. It is necessary for the health and well-being of humans.

Even today, porphyria causes other disturbances in one’s body. The sun is a source of Vitamins D and E. I must find different ways to compensate if I can’t walk in sunlight with appropriate sunscreen—a minimum SPF of 30 is the general recommendation — I use prescription SPF sunscreen—and after-sun exposure lotion.

I wasn’t aware I had a mild level of porphyria until recently, when I started medication because of my mental disorders. I noticed a change in my skin appearance and texture. The combination of medicines I take makes me vulnerable to sunlight.

Brain wave
Brain wave

However, I was lucky enough to know about porphyria. In elementary school, I was friends with twins suffering from a blood disorder. So, I turned on my computer and did some research. Voila! I lack Vitamins D and E.

My Personal Vampire Diary

This little personal information can help some people shed some light on the possibility of porphyria. Medication can cause a blood disorder. When treated with medical testing and appropriate medicine—don’t hesitate to contact your doctor, physician, or pharmacist for information—it is a disorder that one can adapt to in time.

Living with porphyria is often the result of multiple accumulations of mental disorders, stress, anxiety and digestive problems. When it’s not genetics but doesn’t exclude one from the other. It forces us to have introspection on ourselves, our minds, and how to adapt. If I can do it, so can you, believe me! I am a congenital self-destructive person, and I live with porphyria by turning it into an advantage.

HBO - True Blood
HBO – True Blood

Living in the night isn’t so bad! I know it’s not possible for everyone, but if it is, it’s wonderful. We see another side of life. It’s an enjoyable time and relatively peaceful. Give yourself a chance to adapt.

This article was informative on a medical condition with a folkloric history that travelled through time! Porphyria went from frightening people to becoming a part of some people’s lives, and to this day, we still learn about it.

So, do you believe me now when I say I’m a vampire?

The OCD Vampire,
Lex

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