The Astonishing Peace Won By Wilson Disease

We hear of feuding nations: Countries that share a border, yet can’t get along with each other. So, it’s heartening when I read of a young girl in Pakistan who suffers from Wilson disease (the accumulation of copper in the liver, brain and other vital organs) and the efforts that have been made to treat her in India.

People from both sides of the border have raised the funds necessary for her treatment. In this particular medical case, without treatment, the girl would lose the ability to swallow.

Wilson disease is a rare genetic condition in the autosomal recessive gene family. People with this disease often develop neurological and psychiatric disorders. Treatments are available, but in the case of the Pakistani girl, she’d been misdiagnosed for years. Her condition was actually worsened prior to being transferred to the hospital in India.

Medications that treat Wilson disease help to remove copper from the blood and help the body break down copper before it has a chance to accumulate. In severe cases, a liver transplant is sometimes needed for the patient to survive.

Excessive copper can also damage the patients eyes, kidneys, and heart. Hypoparathyroidism, the malfunctioning of the parathyroid glands which causes the patient’s calcium levels to suddenly drop, is also a common complication.

The onset of Wilson disease usually occurs between the ages of 6-20 years of age, although, there are cases of older people manifesting the symptoms. As with any serious disease, early detection greatly improves the patient’s chances of leading a “normal” life.


Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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