Copper Deficiency

Etiology

  • Inadequate intake or absorption of copper

Risk Factors

  • Gastric bypass w/o supplementation
  • Excessive zinc ingestion (interferes w/copper absorption)

Symptoms

  • Affects spinal cord (dorsal columns as well as motor tracts) and peripheral nerves (motor and sensory)
  • Slowly progressive paresthesias affecting legs, ascending numbness starting in feet, gait and balance problems
  • Weakness & numbness can also affect arms/hands
  • Fatigue, sob w/anemia

Physical Exam Findings

  • Ataxia
  • Some weakness
  • + romberg
  • Brisk reflexes
  • + Babinski
  • Tachycardia if sig anemia
  • Diminished peripheral sensation
  • Impaired proprioception
  • Impaired vibration sense
  • Often spasticity

Tests