The presence of copper as an essential trace element is crucial for the body. Even the slightest deviation from the normal value can cause serious symptoms, be it copper deficiency or copper poisoning. Copper is involved in neutralizing oxidative processes in the body, which contribute greatly to the development of cancerous processes. The presence of adequate levels of copper is essential in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and can also prevent anaemia, bone development disorders, and various neurological diseases.
What does the test show?
The test is used to determine the amount of copper in the body, which occurs primarily in the blood, urine, and liver. The test can be used to ascertain whether we are dealing with Wilson’s disease, Menkes disease or dystonia. It may provide an indication of whether additional food intake is necessary in case of eating and digestive disorders (e.g. anorexia, bulimia, diarrhoea).
In which cases is it recommended to have the test performed?
When the patient produces the following symptoms: vomiting, tremor, dizziness, abnormal fatigue, or jaundice.
Copper deficiency can manifest itself in various developmental and growth disorders, anaemia, osteoporosis, and pigmentation.
What sample is needed for the test?
A blood sample taken from a vein is needed for the test.
What can the result indicate?
The results of a laboratory test should never be evaluated on its own, but in comparison with other test items and test types, as high or low copper values do not in themselves indicate a specific disease. However, if the copper level is very low, it may indicate bone development disorders and higher than normal levels may indicate the presence of Wilson’s disease, which requires further testing.
The diagnostic process may be further complicated by the fact that when taking birth control pills, during estrogenic treatment and during pregnancy, copper levels in the body may be higher anyway.
What to do after the test?
The test alone cannot diagnose any disease, and in all cases consult an internist or haematologist to determine the exact diagnosis and required therapy.