Wilson's disease is a rare inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in your liver, brain and other vital organs. Symptoms typically begin between the ages of 12 and 23.
Copper plays a key role in the development of healthy nerves, bones, collagen and the skin pigment melanin. Normally, copper is absorbed from your food, and any excess is excreted through bile — a substance produced in your liver.
But in people with Wilson's disease, copper isn't eliminated properly and instead accumulates, possibly to a life-threatening level. When diagnosed early, Wilson's disease is treatable, and many people with the disorder live normal lives.
Aug. 28, 2014
- Wilson disease. National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/Wilson. Accessed June 6, 2014.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 6, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 6, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 6, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Wilson disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- What I need to know about liver transplantation. National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/livertransplant_ez. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 14, 2014.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. June 25, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.