Scurvy disease – deficiency of vitamin C

Scurvy disease

by The National Archives UK under PD


Lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy disease and our article will explain you signs, symptoms, causes and treatment methods of this condition.

Vitamin C and scurvy disease facts

Vitamins play a vital role in human body, therefore it is important to add them daily meal. Like all other vitamins, vitamin C also plays an important role. For every male and female, there is a fix amount of daily intake, as for men with average age must consume 90mg of vitamin C daily and for women the intake amount is 75 mg.

Vitamin C is very essential in daily diet, it is rich in citric fruits and also found in many vegetables.

Kiwi and oranges are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant in our body, which maintains the body functions and reduces the chances of cancer. It helps to strong immune system. It is also good for skin as it produces an elastic portion called collagen. It also keeps heart healthy.

The absence of vitamin C from daily diet results in scurvy. It can be noticed by the severe gum problems such as bleeding and swelling. It disease was found mostly in the sailors, as they use to stay in sea most of their life with malnutrition food. For the same reason scurvy was also named as sailor’s disease.

Scurvy is a disease caused by absence of vitamin C in your daily diet (no fruits and/or vegetables).

Early symptoms

Due to improper ascorbic acid many other problem were caused in the body. In general, due to scurvy patients feels fatigue and there is uncontrollable blood loss along with gum’s pain with swellings. This disease onset is very less, there are few patients found with this deficiency.

Scurvy disease is common among the elder people due to lack of nutrient in their diet, people who avoid consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. This disease infects alcoholics.

  • Appetite loss
  • Unexpected weight loss. 5 to 6 kg weight loss of patients, even with a good diet.
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty in weight gain. A patient finds it difficult to increase weight.
  • Fever.
  • Malaise and depression is early symptoms of this disease.
  • Fatigue and tiredness.
  • Pain in legs and other parts of body. It caused due to lack of vitamin D and is known as Rickets.
  • Skin problems. Skin rashes with red spot and other skin disorders are the signs of this disease.
  • Gum swelling along with bleeding. It shows the severity of the disease.
  • Losing of teeth. Due to bleeding and swelling of gums, patients might loss teeth.
  • Redness in eyes due to bleeding. Hemorrhaging makes eye red.
  • Corkscrew hair.
  • Anemia.
  • Mood disorder. Scurvy patients have mood swings and report difficulty in maintaining mood or have lack of emotional control
  • Pseudo-paralysis. Disorder of vitamin C can be notice with the present of pseudo-paralysis.
  • Bleedings at ends of long bones.
  • Sicca disorder.

Treatment options

Prevention and scurvy treatment is intake of vitamin C in form of fresh fruits and vegetable. It can also be obtained from oranges, limes, guava, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, and tomatoes.

In vegetables carrots, spinach, potatoes and broccoli is rich with Vitamin C. Oyster and liver also have some amounts of vitamin C.

Other way to avoid scurvy disease is to eat healthy and complete nutrient diet; at times doctor prescribes the patients with ascorbic acid supplements and pills.

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