Too much of copper in the body-Wilson’s disease

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One of the congenital diseases in the body characterized with the excessive presence of copper in the body especially in the brain, eyes and liver is known as Wilson disease. It is an uncommon condition where the liver fails to filter or remove the excess copper from the body. If left untreated, it can lead to liver failure and brain disorder as well as others life threatening conditions.


Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms depend on the part of the body where the condition is.
The common symptoms associated with copper accumulation in the liver are weakness, fatigue, loss of weight, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, itching, jaundice, inflammation of the legs and abdomen, muscle cramps.

Abnormal walking, sleep disorder, mood swing, depression, hand clumsiness, speech and memory disorder, migraines are some of the signs and symptoms of accumulation of copper accumulation in the brain.

Generally, kidney stones, low blood pressure, irregular menses, arthritis, absence of bone density are some symptoms of Wilson’s disease in the organs of the body.


The primary cause of Wilson’s disease is attributed to the absence or irregular working of gene known as ATP7B. The gene regulates the process by which the liver cells remove the excess copper.


There is need to physically examine the patient where abdominal sound will be checked, eye examination to look for sunflower cataracts. This will be complimented with laboratory investing ranging from liver function tests, ceruloplasmin test, and genetic test to imaging testing, like MRI. Liver biopsy may also be recommended.

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One of the treatments for excessive copper in the body is primarily to get the excess copper out of the body. This is mainly done by chelating therapy using its agents that include medications like d-penicillamine and trientine. Possible side effects of this treatment include rash, fever, kidney stones and issues relating to bone marrows.

Secondly, the use of Zinc following medical prescription can help prevent the body from absorbing copper from food. The Zinc can be taken orally with minor stomach disorder as a like side effect.

It is also important to desist from taken foods that have high copper contents which include dried fruit, liver, chocolate, nuts, shellfish and multivitamins. Avoid drinking water from copper pipes.


The disease is congenital and it can also be inherited from parents to children. While it appears unpreventable, it symptoms may be delayed or managed with early use of medication mentioned above especially Zinc.

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