Scurvy is identified by dark gums and loose teeth. It is generally observed in people whose diet happens to be low in green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits. Symptoms experienced are bleeding gums, wounds not getting healed quickly, joint pains, liver spots as well as general weakness of the body. Those who spend much of their time away from mainland (on sea), infants who have improper vitamin C diet or babies who are weaned for mother’s milk are prone to this disease.
Who gets scurvy?
Though scurvy is a very rare disease, it still occurs in some patients - usually elderly people, alcoholics, or those that live on a diet devoid of fresh fruits and vegetables. Similarly, infants or children who are on special or poor diets for any number of economic or social reasons may be prone to scurvy.
Causes of Scurvy
The primary cause of scurvy is insufficient intake of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). This may be due to ignorance, famine, anorexia, restrictive diets (due to allergies, food fads, etc.), or difficulty orally ingesting foods. Historically, scurvy was the result of long sea voyages where sailors did not bring along enough foods with vitamin C.
What are the symptoms of scurvy?
Scurvy symptoms may begin with appetite loss, poor weight gain, diarrhea, rapid breathing, fever, irritability, tenderness and discomfort in legs, swelling over long bones, bleeding (hemorrhaging), and feelings of paralysis.
As the disease progresses, a scurvy victim may present bleeding of the gums, loosened teeth, petechial hemorrhage of the skin and mucous membranes (a tiny pinpoint red mark), bleeding in the eye, proptopsis of the eyeball (protruding eye), constochondral beading (beading of the cartilage between joints), hyperkeratosis (a skin disorder), corkscrew hair, and sicca syndrome (an automimmune disease affecting connective tissue).
Infants with scurvy will become apprehensive, anxious, and progressively irritable. They often will assume the frog leg posture for comfort when struck with pseudoparalysis. It is common for infants with scurvy to present subperiosteal hemorrhage, a specific bleeding that occurs at the lower ends of the long bones.
Home Remedies for Scurvy
- Extract the juice of a lemon and mix it with one tsp honey. Now, put this mixture in a glass of warm water. Have this decoction two times a day.
- Indian gooseberry is beneficial in treating scurvy. The fruit of this plant should be eaten regularly. Have four fruits per day, at different periods.
- Another way to treat scurvy would be to mix powdered Indian gooseberry and sugar in equal amounts. Have 1 tsp of this powder, with a glass of milk, every night, before sleeping.
- Include foods rich in Vitamin C, such as oranges, sweet lemons, watermelons, grapefruits, cantaloupes, green leafy vegetables and tomatoes, in your diet.
- In 500 ml of water, boil some leaves of jaundice berry. Keep on boiling until the decoction gets reduced to one-third. Consume this in a dose of 2 to 4 ml, everyday.
- Powdered raw mango, also known as aamchur, is beneficial in treating scurvy. In a glass of water, add ½ tsp of this powder.
- For infants, the best deal would be to give them cow's milk, along with breast milk.
- Potatoes are also beneficial in treating scurvy. Every 100 grams of potato contains approximately 17 mg of Vitamin C. Consuming potatoes will help you cure the ailment.
- Fresh air and sunshine have proven to be beneficial in curing Vitamin C deficiency. Go out and enjoy mingling with nature.
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