What are the Symptoms of Scurvy Disease?

Scurvy is a rare but serious nutritional deficiency disease caused by a lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the diet. This essential vitamin is crucial for collagen production and overall health. Scurvy’s symptoms can be subtle at first but progressively worsen if left untreated. Here are the key symptoms of scurvy:

  • Fatigue: Individuals with scurvy often experience extreme fatigue and weakness, which can interfere with daily activities.
  • Muscle Pain: Muscle pain and tenderness are common early symptoms of scurvy. It can make movement painful and limit physical activity.
  • Joint Pain: Scurvy can cause joint pain and swelling, making even simple movements uncomfortable.
  • Bleeding Gums: One of the hallmark signs of scurvy is bleeding gums. This can occur during routine activities like brushing teeth or eating. The gums may become inflamed and even appear spongy.
  • Tooth Loss: Over time, untreated scurvy can lead to the loss of teeth due to gum disease and weakening of the supporting structures.
  • Easy Bruising: Individuals with scurvy tend to bruise easily, and the bruises may be larger and more noticeable than usual.
  • Petechiae: Small, red or purple spots called petechiae can appear on the skin due to tiny blood vessel ruptures.
  • Anemia: Scurvy can lead to anemia, which can result in fatigue, weakness, and pale skin.
  • Dry, Scaly Skin: The skin may become dry, scaly, and rough in texture.
  • Hair and Nail Problems: Hair can become brittle and easily damaged, and the nails may become brittle and malformed.
  • Swelling: Swelling and edema, particularly in the lower limbs, can occur in severe cases.
  • Impaired Wound Healing: Vitamin C is essential for wound healing, and scurvy can significantly slow down the body’s ability to repair itself.

It’s important to note that scurvy is preventable and treatable with a diet rich in vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli, and other fresh fruits and vegetables. Without intervention, scurvy can progress to a severe and life-threatening condition. If you suspect you have scurvy or exhibit these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare provider can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe vitamin C supplementation, which can lead to a rapid improvement in symptoms when initiated early.