DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Wilson's disease is an inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in your liver, brain and other vital organs. Another term for Wilson's disease is hepatolenticular degeneration.
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. Left untreated, Wilson's disease is fatal. When diagnosed early, Wilson's disease is treatable, and many people with the disorder live normal lives.
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