There are number of abnormalities associated with the malfunction of liver. Also, there are various factors which can lead to liver inflammation and result in liver diseases. Some of these factors include hepatitis virus infections, excessive use of alcohol, retention of fluids in the body and complications produced by other medical conditions. Wilson’s disease is one of such conditions.
Description of Wilson’s Disease
Retention of copper (not releasing it) by the human body is the main characteristic of Wilson’s disease. In this condition the copper which is required to be released by the liver into bile (a fluid produced in the liver and helps digestion) is not done. The copper absorbed by intestines from food gets accumulated in the liver and damages the liver tissue.
This damage results into releasing the copper directly into bloodstream by the liver. The bloodstream carried such directly supplied copper to various parts of the body where it is again accumulated in different body parts like brain, eyes, kidneys etc. As a result of this accumulation these body parts can get damaged. Wilson’s disease may lead to serious complications like liver failure, brain damage, kidney failure and result in death, if not treated.
Causes behind development of Wilson’s Disease
This condition is hereditary in nature. The symptoms of Wilson’s disease usually surface between ages of 6 years and 20 years. However, in some cases the symptoms may start even up to the age of 40 years.
Signs and Symptoms of Wilson’s Disease
Appearance of rusty brown ring around the eye cornea, which can be seen through eye examination, is considered as the most common symptom of this condition. The other symptom depends on the affected body organs like whether liver, central nervous system, blood, musculoskeletal system, urinary system etc. However, following are the most common symptoms.
- Swollen liver and spleen
- Building up of fluid in abdomen lining
- Decreased white blood count and platelet in blood
- Increased levels of proteins, amino acids, carbohydrate and uric acid in urine
- Speech problems
- Softening of bones
- Blood vomiting
- Rigidness of muscles
- Tremors in hands and arms
Diagnosis of Wilson’s Disease
Tests used for measuring copper amount in blood, liver and urine are conducted for diagnosis of Wilson’s disease. The brown ring which is major symptom of Wilson’s disease can be seen around eye cornea by conducting eye examination.
Treatment of Wilson’s Disease
There are some options available for treating Wilson’s disease. Wilson’s disease can be cured and affected person can lead normal healthy life thereafter, if the disease is detected at early stage and treated correctly.
The main target of treatment is to remove the copper from tissues and organs and prevent absorption of copper by intestines. Prolonged (even for life period) use of trientine hydrochloride or D-penicillamine is the common treatment. Avoidance to copper containing diet, such as nuts, mushrooms, dried fruits, chocolate, shellfish etc and intake of Vitamin B6 will provide better results.