What is Wilson's disease?
Wilson's disease is a rare condition in which there is a build up of copper in the body. Copper is found in many foods and is normally eliminated by the body, but those with Wilson's disease cannot do so. This accumulation of copper can cause damage to the liver and brain tissue.
What are the symptoms of Wilson's disease?
Wilson's disease is a genetically inherited condition. So copper will begin to accumulate at birth, but it will take a while for this build up to become apparent. When symptoms begin to show it is often around the ages of 6 to 20. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
When affecting the brain this can cause:
- Difficulty with moving and speaking
- Tremors in the arms
- Psychological problems such as depression and mood swings
How is Wilson's disease diagnosed?
Wilson's disease can be diagnosed through a number of procedures such as a blood test, a urine test or a liver biopsy.
How is Wilson's disease treated?
Trientine and Penicillamine are used to remove copper from the body. Zinc can also be used to block the gut from absorbing any further copper.