What is Scurvy?

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Scurvy is a disease caused by a diet that lacks vitamin C. Patients develop anemia, debility, exhaustion, edema in some parts of the body, and sometimes ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth. Let’s take a look at what causes scurvy, what the symptoms are and how to prevent it.

The primary cause of scurvy is insufficient intake of vitamin C. This may be due to ignorance, famine, anorexia, restrictive diet, or difficulty orally ingesting foods.

Scurvy symptoms may begin with appetite loss, poor weight gain, diarrhea, rapid breathing, fever, irritability, tenderness and discomfort in legs, swelling over long bones, bleeding, and feelings of paralysis. 

As the disease progresses, a scurvy victim may present bleeding of the gums, loosened teeth, petechial hemorrhage of the skin and mucous membranes and bleeding in the eye.

Scurvy is treated by providing the patient with vitamin C, administered either orally or via injection. Orange juice usually functions as an effective dietary remedy, but specific vitamin supplements are also known to be effective.

Scurvy can be prevented by consuming enough vitamin C, either in the diet or as a supplement. Foods that contain vitamin C include:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Blackcurrants
  • Guava
  • Kiwifruit
  • Papaya
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Paprika
  • Liver
  • Oysters

By including Vitamin C into your daily diet you will decrease your chances of developing scurvy and many other health related diseases. Drink a glass of orange juice with your breakfast every morning to get your daily dose of vitamin C.

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