Copper Urine Test, 24- Hour
The Copper, 24-Hour Urine Test measures copper levels in the urine to diagnose Wilson's disease and detect a copper deficiency or toxicity.
What is being tested?
Order this Copper, 24-Hour Urine Test to measure copper levels in the urine to assist in diagnosing Wilson's disease and to help detect abnormal levels due to a copper deficiency or toxicity. Copper is an essential mineral needed for normal bodily function. The body obtains copper from the foods or fluids we consume as it moves through the digestive system. The copper is then converted, bound to proteins, and transported to the liver. The liver stores some copper, binds the remaining copper to a protein (ceruloplasmin or albumin) to produce enzymes, and then releases it into the bloodstream.
Approximately 95% of the copper in the bloodstream is bound to the ceruloplasmin protein, and the majority of the rest is bound to other proteins, such as albumin. Therefore, only small trace amounts are usually present in the blood in an unbound state. After converting copper into enzymes, the body uses them to help regulate iron absorption, connective tissue formation, energy and melanin production, and nervous system functions. Ultimately, the liver eliminates excess copper into the bile, and it is removed from the body in the stool or urine.
For individuals with Wilson's disease or a copper deficiency or toxicity, there may be abnormal levels of copper in the bloodstream. This Copper, 24-Hour Urine Test can help screen for the following conditions:
- Wilson's disease is a rare hereditable disorder that causes excess storage of copper in the eyes, liver, brain, and other organs.
- Copper deficiency occurs if an individual has a condition that causes severe malabsorption, such as cystic fibrosis or celiac disease.
- Copper toxicity occurs when an individual absorbs large amounts of copper over a short period (acute exposure) or more minor traces over a long period (chronic exposure).
How may I be exposed to copper?
Individuals may be exposed to copper through the following:
- Consuming foods that contain high amounts of copper, such as:
- seed and nuts
- organ meat
- whole grain products
- dried fruits
- foods cooked or served in copper dishes
- Drinking water contaminated with large amounts of copper after it streams through copper pipes
- Working in or living near a site that uses copper in mining, agriculture, or a facility that processes copper.
When should I order a Copper, 24-Hour Urine Test?
Individuals may order a Copper, 24-Hour Urine Test if they have experienced symptoms associated with Wilson's disease or copper deficiency or poisoning, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Behavioral changes
- Difficulty walking
- Involuntary muscle spasms (dystonia)
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Kayser-Fleischer rings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Trouble swallowing
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