Wilson Disease

This genetic disease causes copper to gradually build up inside your body. Over time, the copper gets to toxic levels. It harms your tissues and organs.


Wilson disease is caused by a genetic mutation. It happens when you inherit a copy of the mutated gene from each of your parents. You are born with this disease, but symptoms appear later. For most people, symptoms first appear during the teenage years.


What are the symptoms? Because too much copper hurts the liver, you may have symptoms of liver disease. These include jaundice (that's a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes). You may feel tired. You may lose your appetite, and you may have abdominal swelling. Having too much copper also affects the nerves and the brain. This leads to things like clumsiness, tremors, speech problems and problems thinking. You may have depression, anxiety and mood swings. And you may have problems with your eyes.


How do we treat it? We can give you medicine that helps your body reduce the copper. We can also give you medicine that prevents copper from building up again. If you have liver damage, you may need a liver transplant. And you may need to change your diet to limit the amount of copper you eat. For more info, talk to your doctor.