Scurvy in the modern world – Lack of vitamin C can kill

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A disease considered to be long gone, scurvy is still present in the modern world. This life-threatening condition is normally expected to occur only in the developing countries, but surprisingly, recently some cases have been reported in the U.S.

Lack of vitamin C can kill

In the ancient times, people did not know anything about scurvy and a painful and slow death seemed inevitable. At the present moment, we are aware of the fact that a lack of vitamin C leads to this disease, long-considered to be mysterious. In the early stages of scurvy, a sick person feels tired and nauseous, and a strong pain develops in the joints. Once the sickness progresses, other symptoms appear, such as damaged hair, swollen gums, intense bruising and bleeding into the muscles and joints. If scurvy develops in a child, it also damages the bones and the child’s growth. In many cases, this disease results in death due to complications, such as internal hemorrhaging.

Main victims: sailors and explorers

Scurvy can be easily treated by simply increasing the intake of vitamin C, which can be done with the help of fruits and vegetables, which are its main source. It is not a surprise then that scurvy was omnipresent amongst sailors and travelers, who did not have access to the fresh fruits and vegetables.

Scurvy in the modern world

Nowadays, most of the cases of scurvy are seen in the developing countries, however, this disease can also affect people in rich parts of the world, where consuming vitamin C should not be a problem.

According to medical doctor Eric Churchill from Springfield, Massachusetts, people who have to live on a limited budget tend to choose high fat and calorie meals instead of fruits and vegetables, which may lead to scurvy. Churchill stated that he and his team recorded up to 30 cases of this condition in the past six years.

Some animals are able to produce their own vitamin C, however, unlike lorises and lemurs, humans cannot do this, so we should all always eat vitamin C-rich foods.


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