Scurvy is a disease that is caused by the deficiency of vitamin C. This disease is characterized by bleeding and swelling in the gums and was earlier known as the sailors disease due to its regular occurrence in men at sea, who were deprived of foods rich in vitamin C.
What is Scurvy Disease?
Scurvy may cause a lot of physical weakness and a general feeling of malaise. There is severe gingivitis and eventual hemorrhaging in the skin. The lack of ascorbic acid causes many other malfunctions in the bodys mechanisms.
Description of Scurvy:
Vitamin C is an extremely important nutrient, which is required for various functions in the body, and therefore requires a steady consumption. The daily recommended allowances of Vitamin C in an average adult are 90 mg in males and 75 mg in females. If your diet is deficient in the daily recommended allowance of the vitamin for an extended period, you will eventually end up experiencing symptoms of scurvy.
Information on Scurvy:
Scurvy is a now a rare disease and the incidences of this condition are rather low. Vitamin C is a common nutrient and is not required in very large quantities. So it is only when you have not been getting vitamin C at all for an extended period of time that you begin to experience the symptoms of scurvy. The condition is most common among alcoholics, elderly individuals who are malnourished, and those who do not consume a diet that has fresh fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C content is very high in plant products, especially in citric foods, and therefore, it is wise to include plant products in your meals on a regular basis. Foods like kiwi fruit and oranges are some of the richest sources of vitamin C and therefore, should be included in any diet to avoid scurvy. Vitamin C is most abundantly found in plant materials, fruits, and vegetables, and hence, people who consume a healthy vegetarian diet are usually not at risk of developing scurvy. On the other hand, people who consume a largely non-vegetarian diet, with little or no inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables, may be predisposed to developing scurvy.
Symptoms for Scurvy
Loss of appetite and diarrhea are some of the first few noticeable symptoms of scurvy. A person may begin to lose weight despite eating regular large meals. Also, a person may find it difficult to increase his/her weight. Other symptoms include fever, malaise, irritability, and discomfort in the legs. The skin may also become tender and easily bruised. A skin disorder, known as hyperkeratosis, beading of the cartilage between the joints, corkscrew hair, and an autoimmune disease that affects the cartilage of the body known as sicca syndrome, are some of the other symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency. There may also be internal hemorrhaging, and you may feel numbness and occasional paralysis as well.
Scurvy Symptoms in Children
Children who have scurvy usually feel anxious. Infants may cry incessantly and may be very irritable. The irritability is usually progressive. There may be psuedoparalysis in children, and to find relief from that, they may tend to keep their body on their front foot more. They may also experience hemorrhages in which there is incessant bleeding at the lower ends of the long bones in the body.
Vitamin C Symptoms
Vitamin C has a lot of functions in the body. It is an antioxidant that helps stabilize ions in the body to prevent cancers. It is also very essential for developing a healthy immune system. Vitamin C helps prepare collagen, which is the elastic portion of the skin, and allows the skin to remain supple and young for a longer time. Vitamin C is also a great nutrient for keeping the heart and the cardiovascular system healthy.
Signs and Symptoms of Scurvy
Scurvy patients often have bleeding gums. This disease is often characterized by soft, tender, and bleeding gums. However, what most people are not aware of is that bleeding gums are a severe symptom of scurvy and occurs very late as the disease progresses. The gingivitis leads to loosened teeth, and there may be petechial hemorrhage as well. There may be hemorrhaging in the mucous membranes, which appears as small red dots. There may be eventual bleeding in the eyes, and the whites of the eyes may turn red in color. Protruding eyes or proptosis is another symptom of scurvy. The cartilaginous tissues between the joints may begin bleeding, causing the joints to become mushy and painful. The range of motion becomes severely decreased. You may also experience a skin disorder known as hyperkeratosis. The hair becomes different as well, assuming a corkscrew appearance. An eventual outcome of the disease is sicca syndrome, which is essentially a disease that affects the connective tissues of the body.
Vitamin C and Scurvy
Vitamin C and scurvy are closely related. Since the deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy, it is important to continue consuming this nutrient on a daily basis so that you do not develop this condition.
The deficiency of vitamin D causes a condition known as rickets. This is a condition that makes the bones soft and weak, making them more susceptible to breaking. The condition is made more intense if there is an additional deficiency of phosphorus as well. Rickets symptoms include bone pain and tenderness.
Causes for Scurvy
The main cause of scurvy is a deficiency of vitamin C. If you have not been taking your daily recommended allowance of vitamin C, it will eventually cause scurvy. The deficiency could be caused due to restrictive diets, allergies to vitamin C, anorexia, or a largely meat or fish diet. A difficulty in ingesting foods orally is also a cause of scurvy.
Causes of Scurvy in Children
Scurvys causes and effects are not really related. Though vitamin C is related to a lot of functions in the body, the effects of a vitamin c deficiency are most evident in the gums and bones. The cardiovascular system may also be affected due to which eventually there is bleeding between the joints and a lot of hemorrhaging. There are no other causes of scurvy disease other than the deficiency of vitamin C. There may be other causes of bleeding gums, and if this is the only symptom you are experiencing, you may be afflicted with some oral infection and not scurvy. The causes of scurvy and its risk factors can be easily avoided by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables.
Remedies for Scurvy
Scurvy is caused due to the deficiency of vitamin C. Following are some of the most effective remedies for this condition:
An effective home remedy for scurvy is lemon extract. Lemon juice is rich in ascorbic acid. Mix the juice of one entire lemon with a glass of lukewarm water and honey. Drink this mixture twice a day till the symptoms begin to subside.
Dry some gooseberries and grind them into a powder. Now mix this powder with some powdered sugar and consume a spoonful twice every day. You can even dissolve the mixture into water and drink it. Adding a spoonful of this mixture to lukewarm milk and drinking it before you go to bed can help reduce the symptoms of scurvy. This scurvy cure can slowly help you restore your biochemical balance.
Eat oranges and drink orange juice as the fruit is a rich source of vitamin C. Some of the other foods that contain vitamin C are kiwi fruit, grapefruit, cantaloupes, sweet lemon, and tomatoes. Green leafy vegetables also consist of high amounts of vitamin C, and therefore should be consumed regularly.
It would also help to include potatoes in any diet to treat scurvy. Boil some potatoes and make yourself some mash potatoes. You can also make some tomato gravy to go with it. Both tomatoes and potatoes are rich in vitamin C and this combination can help you deal with scurvy symptoms.
Consume green vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and green peppers. This is another natural scurvy treatment.
Scurvy treatment and management is usually done with the regular consumption of vitamin C. Once you get your bodys biochemical balance restored to the normal levels, you can begin consuming the daily recommended allowance of the nutrient. Consuming vitamin C regularly can help in both scurvy treatment and prevention.
For the treatment of scurvy in children, you will need to mix together cows milk with breast milk. This will allow the child to receive the required daily allowance of vitamin C.
Diagnosis of Scurvy
The diagnosis of scurvy is done by a physical examination. The examination helps the doctor corroborate all the physical symptoms of the disease. Once scurvy is diagnosed, the doctor can let you know how to cure scurvy. The treatment for scurvy then involves the consumption of a lot of vitamin C.
Diet for Scurvy
Any diet for scurvy should include lots of foods that are rich in vitamin C. Citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwifruits, grapefruits, and gooseberries should be consumed on a regular basis. Your doctor can help you make a scurvy diet plan. Since scurvy is induced by dietary deficiency, it can be completely prevented. Scurvy food allergies are one of the many causes of this condition, so if you have food allergies, take vitamin C regularly. Consume a lot of scurvy food to prevent the condition. Some of the foods to prevent scurvy include citrus fruits and green vegetables.
Suggestion for Scurvy
One of the best suggestions for scurvy is to be cautious about your diet and consume foods that are healthy for you. There are additional scurvy tips that you can get from your doctor. Online medical journals are also a good source of information and can provide you with an insight into the latest research trends and statistics on scurvy.
Scurvy Treatments - more information