Return to Krista's Korner

"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Friday, January 28, 2005

About Wilson's Disease

The Wilson's Disease Association International -
Wilson's Disease is a genetic disorder that is fatal unless detected and treated before serious illness from copper poisoning develops. Wilson's Disease affects approximately one in 30,000 people worldwide. The genetic defect causes excessive copper accumulation in the liver or brain.

Small amounts of copper are as essential as vitamins. Copper is present in most foods (see Copper Content of Various Foods), and most people have much more copper than they need. Healthy people excrete copper they don't need but Wilson's Disease patients cannot.

Copper begins to accumulate immediately after birth. Excess copper attacks the liver or brain, resulting in hepatitis, psychiatric, or neurologic symptoms. The symptoms usually appear in late adolescence. Patients may have jaundice, abdominal swelling, vomiting of blood, and abdominal pain. They may have tremors and difficulty walking, talking and swallowing. They may develop all degrees of mental illness including homicidal or suicidal behavior, depression, and aggression. Women may have menstrual irregularities, absent periods, infertility, or multiple miscarriages. No matter how the disease begins, it is always fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated.

The first part of the body that copper affects is the liver. In about half of Wilson's Disease patients the liver is the only affected organ. The initial physical changes in the liver are only visible under the microscope. When hepatitis develops, patients are often thought to have infectious hepatitis or infectious mononucleosis when they actually have Wilson's Disease hepatitis. Testing for Wilson's Disease should be performed in individuals with unexplained, abnormal liver tests."

We are going to have Konal tested for this... it fits the problems we have been having with his copper.