Scorbutus - Scurvy symptoms and signs

Scurvy Signs and symptoms

The typical scurvy symptoms and signs include general weakness, painful joints and muscles, hemorrhage of gums and mucous membranes, anemia, livid spots on the legs and corkscrew hair.
The signs and symptoms of scorbutus develop after 2-3 months of severe deficiency of vitamin C.
By this time much of the body stores of vitamin C are depleted and plasma concentrations may be nil.
This may be due to non inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet.
Scurvy (scorbutus) may also arise due to dietary restrictions in illness, alcoholism or malabsorption.
The main symptoms of scorbutus (scurvy) are the reduced ability to produce and maintain collagen, which is very much required for the connective tissue fibres, bone matrix, cartilaginous tissues, dentin and the cementing substance of the vascular endothelium.
Lacking the cementing substance, the blood capillaries become permeable to red blood cells and hemorrhage occurs in the soft tissues of gums, mucous membrane and epidermis.
The scar tissue of the old wounds, which is made up of collagen, getting affected and the wounds opening up are indications of scurvy (scorbutus).
The lack of sufficient production of collagen causes bone formation to stop whereas the bone absorption goes on causing bone abnormalities, swollen joints, muscular and bone pains and loosened teeth.
In children there may be painful swelling in the legs followed by nausea, diarrhea and fever as scurvy (scorbutus) signs and symptoms.
The loss of blood due to hemorrhage, gastrointestinal bleeding and diffusion of blood into skin leads to anemia.
Lack of vitamin C may further alter the metabolism and absorption of iron and folic acid and increase the anemia and cause scurvy jaundice.
Scurvy symptoms and signs like bleeding of the conjunctiva in the eyes, dryness of eyes and blurring of vision may be encountered.
In scurvy, breathlessness, rapid heart rate and chest pain may be experienced and may lead to heart failure.
The manifestations of scurvy vary from person to person and many of the symptoms listed below may be experienced.
Scurvy disease pictures: cork screw hair condition brought about by vitamin C deficiency
Scurvy disease pictures - corkscrew hair condition (enlarge)

Signs and symptoms of scurvy

  • tiredness
  • malaise
  • exhaustion
  • fainting
  • lethargy
  • uneasy feeling
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • livid (black-blue) spots on the legs (typical of scurvy)
  • weak capillaries
  • bleeding into skin 
  • easy bruising on small abrasions
  • swollen and bleeding gums
  • bleeding mucous membrane
  • fingertip bleeding
  • loosening of teeth
  • dental cavities
  • bleeding spots around the hair follicles
  • corkscrew hair
  • thinning of hair
  • dry skin
  • dry and red eyes
  • bleeding in the eyes and eyelids
  • bulging eyes
  • gastrointestinal bleeding
  • delay in the healing of wounds
  • opening up of old wounds and bleeding
  • rectal bleeding
  • anemia
  • jaundice
  • painful muscles and bones
  • swollen joints
  • sore and swollen joints
  • lung and kidney problems
  • signs of neuropathy
  • convulsions
  • fever
  • bilateral swelling in the legs
  • general oedema
  • depression

Signs and symptoms of scurvy in children

  • painful swelling of legs
  • signs of irritability
  • anaemia
  • bleeding in the ends of long bones
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • impaired growth of bones
All these scurvy signs and symptoms can be reversed by taking food rich in vitamin C and by taking ascorbic acid supplements.

Current topic:
Signs and symptoms of scurvy.

No comments: