SCURVY / VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY
What is scurvy ?
Deficiency of Vitamin C is known as scurvy. Patients with scurvy have bleeding gums, pain in limbs and bleeding from other body sites.
How does Vitamin C deficiency occur ?
Vitamin C is present in fruits and juices especially citrus fruits. Other rich sources of Vitamin C are “Amla” or “Indian Gooseberry” and drumstick leaves. A diet that is deficient in these foodstuffs may lead to Vitamin C deficiency.
What is the function of Vitamin C in the body ?
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. It is necessary for formation of collagen (a type of protein) in tissues. It thus maintains integrity of various body tissues. It also helps in absorption of iron.
What the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency ?
A child with Vitamin C deficiency usually presents between 6 months to 7 years of age. Initial symptoms are vague and include irritability, diarrhea and loss of appetite. As the deficiency progresses, patient may present with severe painful limbs with inability to move the limbs and bleeding especially from gums. On examination the doctor may find certain other signs that help to diagnose Vitamin C deficiency.
How is the diagnosis of scurvy made ?
Diagnosis of Vitamin C is done clinically. X-rays of the limbs and Vitamin C levels in blood and urine (after a test dose of Vitamin C) are other useful parameters.
What is the treatment of scurvy ?
Treatment of Vitamin C deficiency consists of high doses of Vitamin C either through mouth or injection for several weeks. Children should consume a diet rich in Vitamin C to avoid further deficiency.
Last created on 12-2-2006
Last updated on 18-11-2006