Overview

Wilson's disease is a rare inherited disorder that causes copper to accumulate in your liver, brain and other vital organs. Most people with Wilson's disease are diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 35, but it can affect younger and older people, as well.

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 excess is excreted through a substance produced in your liver (bile).

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.

Wilson's disease care at Mayo Clinic