Scurvy

June 2017


Definition


Scurvy is an old disease that was found on ships and in prisons. It is now clearly identifiable and has been almost completely eradicated. Scurvy is associated with a profound and lasting lack of vitamin C. The disease is common in people who do not consume any fruit or vegetables: this vitamin is not synthesized by the body and therefore is necessarily provided by one's diet. If left untreated, scurvy can be dangerous. The symptoms are due to deficiency of functions provided by vitamin C, namely the protection of blood vessel walls, immunity and healing.

Symptoms


Initially, a vitamin C deficiency can cause headaches, fatigue, weight loss and a greater susceptibility to infection. In cases of severe deficiency, there is an exaggeration of these signs and heavy bleeding. The symptoms of scurvy are numerous and include:
  • fatigue;
  • edema;
  • gums lesions that bleed easily: gingivitis;
  • loosening of the teeth;
  • nosebleeds, called epistaxis;
  • bleeding that can affect any organ, especially in advanced stages;
  • death, often caused by massive bleeding.

Diagnosis


To diagnose scurvy, the doctor will perform an examination that will focus on the patient's medical history as well as his eating habits and lifestyle. To confirm scurvy, and thus a vitamin C deficiency, a blood test is required.

Treatment


To treat scurvy, the patient should be given vitamin C and adopt a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Nutritional monitoring may be proposed, provided by a dietitian or nutritionist. In case of complications related to the disease, the symptoms will be cured through targeted treatments.

Prevention


To prevent scurvy, simply make sure to consume vitamin C daily. The recommended dose is about 110 mg per day.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff. Latest update on November 5, 2013 at 09:17 AM by Jeff.
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