What is Wilson’s Disease?
Finding and treating Wilson’s Disease early provides patients with improved outcomes and lowers the risk of future complications.
Causes of Wilson’s Disease
Wilson’s disease is inherited when both parents pass on a defective gene. Those who have this gene from one parent only carry the disease but don’t get sick from it. When you have this disorder, copper builds up inside, since your body is unable to eliminate it.
Symptoms of Wilson’s Disease
Symptoms of Wilson’s disease normally do not show up until later on, even though the disorder is present at birth. In most cases, this disease ends up being diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 35 years old. When too much copper builds up, you might start to experience the following symptoms:
- Pain in your abdomen, along with appetite loss and fatigue
- Stiff muscles or involuntary movements
- Swelling in your abdomen or legs due to fluid buildup
- Trouble with coordination, speaking and swallowing
- Jaundice that causes a yellowish appearance in the skin and eyes
- Eye discoloration that is a golden-brown color
Risks of Wilson’s Disease
This disorder can put you at risk of developing severe complications that include:
- Cirrhosis or scarring in your liver
- Kidney stones and other kidney problems
- Liver failure
- Anemia, jaundice and other problems with your blood
- Neurological problems, such as speech problems, movement problems, and tremors
- Depression, psychosis and other psychological problems
Treatment for Wilson’s Disease
Diagnosing Wilson’s disease early allows treatment to begin right away, which can help prevent copper levels from building up to dangerous levels. Treatment options include medication and surgery, as well as lifestyle changes. Medications are able to bind copper and ensure that it reaches the bloodstream so that it can be eliminated in your urine.
Surgery is sometimes needed for patients who have serious liver damage. This involves receiving a liver transplant.
Your doctor might recommend changing your diet if you have this disorder in order to lower your copper intake from foods. Food sources that contain copper in large amounts include liver, nuts, chocolate, mushrooms, and shellfish. Making changes to your diet and taking your medication as needed should help prevent serious problems with this disease.
To find out more about Wilson’s disease and learn about different treatment options, make an appointment today with one of our experienced healthcare providers at Park Avenue Medical Professionals. Our doctors have extensive and experience in diagnosing and treating Wilson’s disease.