A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Wilson’s Disease
I had a question the other day about Wilson’s disease.
Wilson’s disease is a rare inherited disorder affecting approximately 1 in 40,000 people worldwide.
With Wilson’s disease, your body can’t metabolize the trace element copper like it should.
This causes excess copper to accumulate in your brain, kidneys, liver, and the corneas of your eyes.
This causes organ damage and other complications, including neurological problems and psychotic behavior.
Untreated, Wilson’s disease leads to brain damage, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, and, ultimately, death.
Fortunately, early detection and treatment can minimize symptoms and complications and possibly even prevent them altogether.
Symptoms of Wilson’s disease may include bloody vomit; difficulty speaking, swallowing, and/or walking; drooling; an enlarged spleen; jaundice; loss of appetite; loss of coordination; progressive fatigue and/or weakness; progressive intellectual impairment; psychological deterioration appearing as personality changes and/or bizarre behavior; rigidity, spasms, or tremors of your muscles; swelling and/or fluid accumulation in your abdomen; and unexplained weight loss.
Sometimes the first sign is the development of a pigmented ring, known as a Kayser-Fleischer ring, at the outer margin of your cornea, which can be detected during a routine eye examination.
In the advanced stages of the disease, symptoms due to chronic active hepatitis or cirrhosis may appear, menstrual cycles may stop, and you may experience chest pains, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, pallor, and shortness of breath as a result of exertion.
Although people who have Wilson’s disease are born with the disorder, symptoms rarely appear before the age of 6 and usually don’t appear until adolescence or even later.
However, to prevent complications, treatment is needed whether you have symptoms or not.
Diagnosis is usually based on your family medical history plus blood tests to check for copper-carrying proteins and anemia, plus a urine test to check for elevated copper in your urine.
A liver biopsy to evaluate the amount of copper in liver tissue may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
To deal with Wilson’s disease it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells and flushes toxins (whether thirsty or not!).
*Alfalfa, gotu kola, parsley, oat straw, periwinkle, and skullcap are good for overall good health and the functioning of the brain and nervous system.
*Astragalus, and pau d’arco are helpful for fatigue (don’t use astragalus if you have a fever).
*Black radish and red clover strengthen your liver.
*Burdock, dandelion, milk thistle, and suma cleanse and support your liver and help to fight fatigue.
*Cayenne eases blood pressure, fights fatigue, and helps support your nervous system.
*Valerian root is calming and is good for your brain and nervous system. It can also be beneficial for swallowing difficulties.
*Increase your consumption of onions. They contain sulfur, which helps to rid your body of copper.
*Eat fresh (not canned) pineapple frequently. It contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps to keep down swelling and inflammation.
*Have the copper level of your drinking water tested.
*If you take a multivitamin and/or mineral supplement, be sure to choose a formula that does NOT contain copper.
*Eliminate from your diet foods high in copper. These include barley, beets, blackstrap molasses, broccoli, chocolate, enriched cereals, garlic, lentils, liver, mushrooms, nuts, organ meats, salmon, and shellfish, as well as avocados, beans and other legumes, egg yolks, oats, oranges, pecans, raisins, soybeans, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables.
*If you suffer from tremors, avoid caffeine.
*Avoid alcohol consumption. Wilson’s disease increases your risk of cirrhosis of the liver.
*Don’t use copper cookware or utensils.
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