I’ve got porphyria….crickets, blank stare.
Try to explain it and the vast majority of people are lost (or bored in 10 seconds or less). Public schools don’t do a very good job of teaching science – there is a bit of chemistry and anatomy to understand. Besides, most Americans are only interested in who’s in People magazine or how their favorite team is doing.
One way I’ve reached people (sort of) is to refer to the medical drama House. There have been a few episodes in which the patient had porphryia. The most notable one is when he almost kills his ex-wife’s husband, who has AIP. House only crippled the poor guy.
If you say lupus, leukemia, or cancer, people are comfortable with the answer. They still have no clue as to what those people are dealing with or what they need; but, they’ve heard the terms often enough, that they accept them.
The best way is probably not to tell anyone who doesn’t really, really need to know. For every one else…I’m on a diet. Let them think cholesterol, high blood pressure, whatever. It is much easier on everyone & people are generally very flexible with dietary restrictions (especially as we all get older).