What is Wilson’s disease?
Wilson’s disease is an inherited disorder in which the body takes in and keeps too much copper in its tissues. The deposits of copper in the liver, brain, kidney and eyes cause tissue damage, death of tissues and scarring.
How common is Wilson’s disease?
Wilson's disease is a rare inherited disorder. If both parents carry an abnormal gene for Wilson's disease, there is a 25% chance in each pregnancy that the child will have the disorder.
This condition is most common in eastern Europeans, Sicilians, and southern Italians. Wilson’s disease typically appears in people under 40 years old.
What are the symptoms of Wilson’s disease?
Symptoms of Wilson’s disorder includes abnormal posture, confusion, dementia, difficulty moving, emotional and personality changes, phobias, speech problems, tremors, vomiting blood, jaundice and weakness.
How is Wilson’s disease treated?
Treatment aims to reduce the amount of copper in the tissues, and it must be lifelong. Medication and vitamin supplements can help achieve this.
A low copper diet may also be recommended, as well as drinking distilled water. Exercise and physical therapy can also help with symptoms.
In severe cases a liver transplant may be needed.
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