What is Wilson's Disease?
Wilson's Disease is an inherited medical condition that is characterized by the presence of excess copper in the body, causing damages to the liver and nervous system. To stay healthy, small amounts of copper is required but excessive copper in the blood is toxic and damages cells. Normally, copper from the diet is filtered out by the liver and released into bile before flowing out of the body through the gastrointestinal tract. However, in Wilson's disease, copper is not released from the liver at the normal rate and accumulates in the liver, brain, eyes, and other organs. This is caused by a mutation in ATP7B gene, which refers to a change in the base sequence of the ATP7B gene. Over time, Wilson's Disease can be life-threatening due to high levels of copper in the body, which causes organ damage. It can lead to hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and brain damage. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Liver cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver.
Signs and symptoms of Wilson's Disease may include:
- Have speaking difficulties
- Have walking difficulties
- Joint pain (arthralgia)
- Loss of appetite
- Skin rashes
Possible causes of Wilson's Disease are:
- Genetic mutation
The risk of Wilson's Disease increases when you/your:
Wilson's Disease may result in the following complications:
No specific prevention guideline exists for Wilson's Disease at this moment.
Treatments and management of Wilson's Disease may vary depending on the individual patient and the severity of the medical condition. Treatment options may include:
- Chelating Agents
- Liver Transplant
- Zinc Acetate Drugs