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What is scurvy?

Scurvy is a condition caused by a prolonged deficiency of ascorbic acid, commonly called vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen, which plays a crucial role in the supportive and structural function of blood vessels and other tissues of the body. Though uncommon today, this deficiency manifests as general weakness, anaemia, gum diseases and skin haemorrhage. Vitamin C is also an important antioxidant.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of scurvy may vary from person to person.

Early symptoms include:

Late symptoms include:

  • Anaemia.
  • Gum disease.
  • Bulging eyes.
  • Scaly, dry and brownish skin.
  • Slow healing of wounds.
  • Skin haemorrhages.
  • Dry and damaged hair with extensive hair loss.
  • Swelling of arms and legs caused by internal bleeding into the joints and muscles.
  • Retardation of bone growth.

What are the main causes?

Scurvy is more commonly found in underdeveloped countries where malnutrition is a major problem.

Scurvy is caused by a diet which lacks an adequate amount of vitamin C.

Risk factors include:

  • People with inadequate diet, especially fussy eaters, people with anorexia nervosa, elderly, children, people with mental and physical disabilities, people on specific diets or food fads or allergy diet.
  • People who have certain underlying medical conditions, such as malabsorption disorders, severe dyspepsia, people on dialysis, inflammatory bowel disease, and others.
  • Smoking and alcohol abuse.
  • Malnutrition.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Scurvy is diagnosed on the basis of medical history, physical examination and symptoms.

History of a vitamin C-deficient diet is also assessed.

Investigations include:

  • Blood test to measure vitamin C and iron levels.
  • X-ray of the joints of the arms and legs.

Diagnosis is confirmed when a person responds well to a vitamin C-rich diet with reduced symptoms.

Treatment involves vitamin C substitution. Your doctor will prescribe vitamin C supplements. Dietary modifications include incorporating vitamin C-rich food items in your diet. This can greatly reduce the symptoms. Papaya, lemons and oranges are rich in vitamin C.

Underlying medical conditions and aggravating factors need to be addressed promptly.

  1. Medicines for Scurvy
  2. Doctors for Scurvy
Dr. Tanmay Bharani

Dr. Tanmay Bharani

एंडोक्राइन ग्रंथियों और होर्मोनेस सम्बन्धी विज्ञान

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

एंडोक्राइन ग्रंथियों और होर्मोनेस सम्बन्धी विज्ञान

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

एंडोक्राइन ग्रंथियों और होर्मोनेस सम्बन्धी विज्ञान

Medicines for Scurvy

Medicines listed below are available for Scurvy. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
ADEL 87 Apo-Infekt DropADEL 87 Apo-Infekt Drop200
Mankind Vitamin CVitamin C Injection1
SBL Nasturtium officinale DilutionSBL Nasturtium officinale Dilution 1000 CH86
Vcnex TabletVCNEX TABLET262
Omeo Anaemia SyrupOmeo Anaemia Syrup 223
Schwabe Cetraria islandica MTSchwabe Cetraria islandica MT 100
Bjain Nasturtium officinale DilutionBjain Nasturtium officinale Dilution 1000 CH63
SBL Acidum citricum DilutionSBL Acidum citricum Dilution 1000 CH86
Schwabe Nasturtium officinale CHSchwabe Nasturtium officinale 1000 CH96
SederOM TabletSederOM Tablet 120
SBL Veronica beccabunga DilutionSBL Veronica beccabunga Dilution 1000 CH86
SBL Cetraria islandica DilutionSBL Cetraria islandica Dilution 1000 CH86
Bjain Veronica beccabunga DilutionBjain Veronica beccabunga Dilution 1000 CH63
Bjain Acidum citricum DilutionBjain Acidum citricum Dilution 1000 CH63
Schwabe Acidum citricum CHSchwabe Acidum citricum 12 CH96
SBL Acidum citricum Mother Tincture QSBL Acidum citricum Mother Tincture Q 64

Do you or anyone in your family have this disease? Please do a survey and help others


  1. Daniel Léger. Scurvy: Reemergence of nutritional deficiencies. Can Fam Physician. 2008 Oct; 54(10): 1403–1406. PMID: 18854467
  2. Rian A.A. Wijkmans, Koen Talsma. Modern scurvy . J Surg Case Rep. 2016 Jan; 2016(1): rjv168. PMID: 26755528
  3. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Scurvy
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Scurvy
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Scurvy
  6. National Center for Advancing and Translational Sciences. Scurvy. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center
  7. healthdirect Australia. Scurvy. Australian government: Department of Health
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