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Word Count: 772
Wilsons Disease is a genetic disorder that is fatal unless detected and treated before serious illness develops from copper poisoning Wilsons Disease affects one in thirty thousand people world wide The genetic defect causes excessive copper accumulation Small amounts of copper are essential as vitamins Copper is present in most foods and most people get much more than they need Healthy people excrete copper they dont need but Wilsons Disease patients cannotCopper begins to accumulate immediately after birth Excess copper attacks the liver and 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 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 is not diagnosed and treatedThe first part of the body that copper affects is the liver In about half of Wilsons Disease patients the liver is the only affected organ The 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 Wilsons Disease hepatitis Any unexplained abnormal liver test should trigger thought about Wilsons DiseaseThe diagnosis of Wilsons Disease is made by relatively simple tests which almost always make the diagnosis The tests can diagnose the disease in both symptomatic patients and people who show not signs of the disease It is important to diagnose Wilsons Disease as early as possible since severe liver damage can occur before there are any signs of the disease Individuals with Wilsons Disease may falsely appear in excellent healthBlood ceruloplasmin urine copper eye test for Kayser-Fleischer rings and liver biopsies are used to make the diagnosisIs Wilsons Disease an Inherited DisorderWilsons Disease
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