Scurvy: Symptoms and Treatment

Scurvy is a disease that progresses due to insufficient content of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the human body. This, in turn, leads to a disruption in the production of a protein such as collagen, responsible for the reliability of the walls of blood vessels and the elasticity of connective tissues. As a result, there is a gradual destruction of cartilage and bones, a decrease in the functionality of the bone marrow.

Scurvy leads to the necrosis of the bone bed of the teeth, because of what they begin to rot and, as a consequence, fall out. It is related to the category of bleeding diseases, due to lack of iron in the body. Often, the disease can be caused by other forms of vitamin deficiency.

Scurvy is manifested with a long, about six months, the absence in the diet of vitamin C. The primary signs of the disease make themselves felt after two months from the date of the last use of such a vitamin. To maintain a normal concentration of vitamin in the human body, you should constantly consume the foods in which it is contained. Therefore, this disease is so common among seamen and people who, for whatever reason (climate or lack of funds), do not have the opportunity to constantly consume the vitamin.

In our time, absolutely anyone can get scurvy, especially those individuals who do not want or can not provide themselves with sufficient use of ascorbic acid. It should be noted that this disease is of a rather lengthy nature. The period of the disease lasts from one month to a year.


The main reason why people suffer from scurvy is the lack of ascorbic acid in the body. Vitamin P also plays an important role in saving vitamin C, so its level in the body is also important to maintain at the required level.

Progression scurvy can provoke the following etiological factors:

  • eating large amounts of carbohydrates
  • infectious processes in the human body that are chronic. In such cases, recovery requires more vitamin C than its normal level;
  • Digestive disorders;
  • harmful working conditions, which are characterized by increased emissions or vibrations, which negatively affects health. In addition, such factors include limited access to light or air during operation;
  • high physical activity
  • insufficient amount of time allocated for sleep
  • unhealthy lifestyle.


The first symptoms of scurvy make themselves felt a few months after the development of a deficiency of ascorbic acid. In medicine, there are several stages of the course of the disease and the manifestation of symptoms.

The primary stage is called latent, and is characterized by the following symptoms:

  1. duration from one week to two months;
  2. increased susceptibility of the skin to touch;
  3. fast fatigue of the patient
  4. constant lack of sleep;
  5. pain in the lower limbs;
  6. pallor and greyish skin tone.

In the second stage, there are:

  • small reddish rashes all over the body, except the face, palms and feet
  • blood in the urine and in expectoration
  • swelling and muscle pain
  • difficult movement
  • Pain and bleeding gums when chewing.

The final stage is defined:

  1. spread of hemorrhages
  2. appearance of bleeding ulcers on the affected skin or mucous membrane of the mouth
  3. heart palpitations
  4. A significant reduction in blood pressure.

In addition, signs of scurvy can serve:

  • discoloration and swelling of the gums
  • profuse salivation
  • bad breath;
  • the formation of crimson spots on the legs
  • bleeding from the nose


In case of untimely diagnosis and seeking help, the following complications of the disease may develop:

  1. myocardial dystrophy;
  2. jaundice
  3. Numerous ulcers on the skin, oral mucosa and internal organs
  4. the emergence of concomitant infections that have arisen against the background of this disease
  5. very complex movement or complete immobility of the patient, associated with severe muscle pain
  6. increased risk of bone fractures.

Death in scurvy occurs only in severe cases of exhaustion of the body and hemorrhages, as well as when untimely seeking help from doctors.


Because the disease has quite specific symptoms, then it is not difficult to diagnose it. Diagnosis of scurvy consists of the following processes:

  • conducting a complete interview of the patient, about the appearance of the first signs of the disease, with what it could be connected, how the symptoms changed over time. Learn how, what and when the patient eats;
  • urine and blood sampling for analysis
  • advice from a nutritionist;
  • Radiography.


Treatment of scurvy is aimed at normalizing the level of vitamin C in the body. Therefore, the most effective medicine for scurvy are injections of ascorbic acid. The dose depends on the severity of the course of the disease. The harder a person tolerates it, the more the daily dose will increase. Such treatment will be more effective in conjunction with a diet that is based on eating fresh food, with a high content of vitamin. For each patient, the dosage is calculated individually. Nutrition of the patient should be versatile, but it is necessary to include the use of about two hundred grams of protein per day. With a high level of depletion, blood transfusion is prescribed.

In addition to drug therapy, folk remedies are quite effective, which will be useful not only in the treatment, but also in the prevention of the disease. These methods include:

  1. rose hips tincture
  2. broths of dried berries of black currant, cowberry, blueberry and mountain ash
  3. lemon juice and other citrus fruits
  4. everyday eating cabbage, garlic, horse-radish, sorrel, barberry, kiwi
  5. dried fruits
  6. Rinse mouth with decoction from the bark of oak and quinine crust. Daily lubrication of the gums with tinctures of myrrh and calendula will be useful.


Prophylactic techniques from scurvy include:

  • eating protein and foods containing vitamins C and P
  • thorough hygienic activities related to the oral cavity
  • introduction of fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits into the ration;

  • taking vitamins.