WILSON DISEASEWHAT IS IT Wilson’s disease, genetic disorder, is the build up of copper in the liver, brain, eyes, and other organs. Wilson prevents the body from getting rid of excess copper that the body doesn’t need. The high copper levels over time can cause organ damage that is life-threatening. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/diseses/pubs/wilson/

Wilson’s disease affects anyone who inherits abnormal copies of the ATP7B gene (one from each parent). The carriers of Wilson have no symptoms, and only one copy of the gene. The majority of people that have Wilson’s disease have no family history of having the disease. A child’s risk of receiving the disease increases if both of the parents have Wilson. Wilson affects women and men equally. Approximately 1 in 40,000 people have Wilson’s disease. Cases have been reported in those ages 2-72, but symptoms generally show from ages 5-35. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/diseses/pubs/wilson/

Some of the symptoms include:
  • Swelling of liver or Spleen
  • Jaundice
  • Fluid buildup in the legs or abdomen
  • Tendency to bruise easily
  • Fatigue
The copper builds up in the liver and the liver tissue is damaged and the liver eventually releases the copper directly into the blood stream. The copper is then transported throughout the body. If left untreated it leads to liver failure and death. http://digestive-system.emedtv.com/wilson%27s-disease/wilson%27s-disease.html

The three main treatments for Wilson are Zinc acetate, Trientine, and Penicillamine. Zinc Acetate has no serious side affects. Zinc acetate increase copper excretion through stool and blocks the absorption of copper. However Zinc Acetate takes longer to start working. Trientine and Penicillamine increase urinary secretion of copper. Both Trientine and Penicillamine have serious side affects. The side affects of Penicillamine are skin problems, bone marrow suppression, worsening of neurological symptoms and birth defects. Those that have Wilson disease will have to take vitamin B6 and have a low-copper diet.