Wilsons disease symptoms are extremely important to understand as this is a very serious life threatening disorder.
However, in most all cases it can be controlled and even prevented by one very important mineral; zinc.
It can be very difficult to detect in the early stages, and as a result, it can cause very serious damages to your liver as well as your kidneys if you do not understand the symptoms.
It can also cause scarring of your liver, referred to as cirrhosis, liver failure, as well as liver cancer.
It can also cause kidney stones to develop both very easily and frequently as well as a condition referred to as aminoaciduria.
This disease can be extremely painful and if is left untreated it can be fatal, which makes understanding the symptoms even more critical.
Wilsons disease symptoms are the end product of what is considered to be an inherited disorder.
It results in high levels of copper accumulating not only in your liver, but other vital organs including your brain.
It is also known by another name, hepatolenticular degeneration.
Copper is an extremely critical nutrient in your body as it helps with the development as well as the maintenance of your nerves, your bones, collagen, and most of your skin.
In your skin it is critical for the pigment melanin, which is what keeps your skin pigmentation healthy.
In the vast majority of cases, copper is very easily absorbed from the food that you eat as well as any type of supplement that you take.
If there is an excess, it is easily excreted and flushed through your bile which is produced in your liver.
However, if you have inherited Wilsons disease, the copper in your system is not totally excreted, and as a result, it starts to accumulate.
Once it begins to accumulate, there are several symptoms that will begin to appear.
This accumulation can take several years to reach the point where it becomes life threatening, but once it does and if you understand the symptoms, they may save your life.
There are several Wilsons disease symptoms, however, unlike some diseases or disorders, there is no particular arrangement or order that they will begin to appear in..
You may experience several of them all at one time, or just a few, but when they do begin to surface you cannot ignore them and if they persist, you need to have tests run as quickly as possible.
The first of the Wilsons disease symptom that you may notice will be a slowly developing depression that may be followed very quickly by a sudden clumsiness as well as a difficulty in walking.
You may also experience a difficulty in swallowing, which may then be followed by an inability to speak properly.
You may also begin to drool, start to have moderate to severe joint pain, as well as develop involuntary shaking like you would experience if you were extremely cold.
You may also begin to experience swelling in both your arms as well as your legs.
Jaundice may also develop, which is where your skin as well as your eyes begin to turn a yellowish tint as your melanin or skin pigmentation is being attacked.
There is also no definitive timeline on when Wilsons disease symptoms will begin their attack.
In fact they can begin as early as ten years old or may not show up until you are in your early or mid-forties.
Wilsons disease symptoms are considered to be the result of a genetic disorder that is caused by a genetic mutation in your body.
This is referred to as an autosomal recessive trait.
What this means is that in order for you to develop this disorder, you must receive two copies of defective gene that triggers it, one from each of your parents.
If you only receive one of these defective genes, you will not develop the disease yourself or suffer from any of the symptoms.
However you are now a carrier of the disorder and may pass it along to your children.
Once the copper that is building in your body reaches a critical point, several complications can result and the symptoms are the result of what is happening inside of your body.
You can easily develop cirrhosis of the liver as the copper buildup is scarring your liver, which makes it almost impossible for it to function properly.
You may also develop liver cancer, or if it is severe enough, liver failure and your only chance of surviving will be from a liver transplant.
Kidney problems can also develop which are not nearly as serious, but can be very painful.
Wilsons disease symptoms can be effectively treated and even prevented, especially if you have a history of it in your family and are aware of them.
However, most medical experts will agree that treating this disease is not the biggest challenge; catching the symptoms in the early stages is the real challenge.
One of the most prominent pioneering researchers in the human genetic field, George Brewer, M.D. Professor of Human Genetics and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, suggests the following.
The reason it is difficult to treat this disease is the fact that it is very easily mistaken for hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver caused by excessive alcohol intake.
It is also very difficult to treat because some of the symptoms slowly evolve over time instead of showing up all at once.
Once they are properly identified as Wilson disease symptoms, in some cases, it may be too late.
However, if they are identified early or if you know that you have a family history of them, the mineral zinc can treat them as well as prevent them from ever occurring.
Dr. Brewer has done extensive research and found that zinc helps to produce a formation of a substance referred to as metallothionein.
This substance basically hunts out copper specifically and then grabs it or attaches to it where it will hold it in your intestinal cells.
Once it has been held, both the substance as well as the copper is very easily mixed and excreted in your bile or intestinal waste.
Your intestinal cells are very similar to your skin cells in that they only have about a six day life span, so this process can happen very quickly.
However, there is also a newer drug called tetrathiomolybdate that is very effective if the copper buildup has affected your brain.
There are also drugs that can help with any liver damage, and they are also very effective in treating Wilsons disease symptoms.
If either of these treatments is successful and you are then placed on a zinc only treatment as a therapy, you are considered to be out of danger.
It is estimated by Dr. Brewer that 50 milligrams be used three times a day to offset the buildup of copper as the result of this disease.
However this should only be done under the direct supervision of your doctor as high levels of zinc can be toxic.
Wilsons disease symptoms as well as the disease itself can be extremely difficult to identify but can be treated if you can catch it as soon as you experience any of the symptoms.
If you are suffering from depression, do not rule this out and have it checked.
If you have a history of Wilsons disease symptoms in your family, taking zinc will stop them dead in their tracks in either a liquid zinc supplement or a liquid vitamin supplement.
Liquid forms absorb in your body at a 90 % or higher ratio as compared to about 25 % with pill or capsule forms, and with this disease, you want all the protection you can get.