Wilson's Disease



Genetic mutation on chromosome 13


Jaundice, tremors, spasms, difficulty speaking, drooling, personality changes

Mortality Rate

Inevitably fatal if untreated


Low copper diet, chelation therapy

Show Information

Wilson's Disease is a rare genetic disorder caused by the inability of the body to properly dispose of copper from the bloodstream. In normal people, the liver filters excess copper from the body and disposes of it in bile into the digestive tract. However, in patients with Wilson's, excess copper accumulates in the body's organs, particularly the liver, eventually poisoning them.

One of the only definitive signs of the disease is a Kayser-Fleisher ring, a copper colored ring around the cornea in the eye. As such, many cases of Wilson's are discovered during routine eye exams.

Chelation therapy will remove excess copper from the body, but patients cannot be cured and must thereafter avoid foods that are rich in copper, such as liver, shellfish and nuts.

See also Haemochromatosis, a similar disease where the body cannot dispose of iron.

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