What're the symptoms of Wilson's disease?
Some of the symptoms of Wilson's disease are dementia, drooling, slurred speech, temper outbursts and violent tremors. Symptoms are often misdiagnosed as hepatitis, substance abuse or Parkinson's disease, thus delaying treatment and increasing the possibility of permanent organ damage. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 6 and 20 years,
but sometimes not until the age of 30, and in rare instances up to age 50. The most classical sign are the Kayser-Fleischer rings - brown rings around the cornea in the eye - that result from copper deposition in Descemet's membrane of the cornea. Other signs depend on whether the damage occurs in the liver, blood, central nervous system, urinary system, or musculoskeletal system. Many signs would be detected only by a doctor, like swelling of the liver and spleen; fluid buildup in the lining of the abdomen; anemia; low platelet and white blood cell count in the blood; high levels of amino acids, protein, uric acid, and carbohydrates in urine; and softening of the bones. Some symptoms are more obvious, like jaundice, which appears as yellowing of the eyes and skin; vomiting blood; speech and language problems; tremors in the arms and hands; and rigid muscles.
About half of all patients experience their first symptoms in the liver. The illness causes swelling and tenderness of the liver, sometimes with fever, mimicking more common disorders, such as viral hepatitis and infectious mononucleosis. Abnormal levels of circulating liver enzymes reveal that the liver is being seriously damaged. This form of damage is referred to as "fatty degeneration." Without medical intervention, the liver damage will progress to actual cirrhosis. An often fatal manifestation of liver disease is called "fulminant hepatitis." This extremely severe inflammation of the liver (hepatitis) results in jaundice, fluid leaking into the abdomen, low protein circulating in the blood, abnormalities of the blood clotting system, swelling of the brain, and anemia due to the abnormal destruction of red blood cells.
Half of all patients experience their first symptoms due to deposits of copper in the brain and nervous system. These symptoms include tremors, uncontrollable movements of the limbs, stiffness, drooling, difficulty swallowing, difficulty talking, and headache. Many patients have a variety of psychiatric symptoms, suddenly displaying bizarre and inappropriate behavior, with deterioration of functioning at work or school. A very small percentage of women have symptoms involving their reproductive systems. Some females never begin to have menstrual periods, while others stop having them. Still other women experience multiple miscarriages of pregnancies.