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Scurvy

Vitamin C deficiency; Deficiency - vitamin C; Scorbutus

Scurvy is a disease that occurs when you have a severe lack of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in your diet. Scurvy causes general weakness, anemia, gum disease, and skin hemorrhages.

Scurvy is rare in the United States. Older adults who are not getting proper nutrition are most affected by scurvy.

References

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Nutritional diseases. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 22.

Shand AG, Wilding JPH. Nutritional factors in disease. In: Ralston SH, Penman ID, Strachan MWJ, Hobson RP, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 19.

Text only

  • Scurvy - periungual hemorrhage

    Scurvy - periungual hemorrhage - illustration

    Scurvy is a nutritional disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Common symptoms include pinpoint bleeding around hair follicles, along the gums, and under the nails, as seen in this photograph. This disease rarely occurs in the United States.

    Scurvy - periungual hemorrhage

    illustration

  • Scurvy - corkscrew hair

    Scurvy - corkscrew hair - illustration

    Scurvy is a nutritional disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Pinpoint bleeding around hair follicles, and corkscrew hairs as seen in this picture, can occur as a result of scurvy. Bleeding along the gums is common. This disease rarely occurs in the United States.

    Scurvy - corkscrew hair

    illustration

  • Scurvy - corkscrew hairs

    Scurvy - corkscrew hairs - illustration

    Corkscrew hairs in hyperkeratotic follicles are pathognomonic of scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency. Petechiae and subungual hemorrhage may also be seen.

    Scurvy - corkscrew hairs

    illustration

    • Scurvy - periungual hemorrhage

      Scurvy - periungual hemorrhage - illustration

      Scurvy is a nutritional disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Common symptoms include pinpoint bleeding around hair follicles, along the gums, and under the nails, as seen in this photograph. This disease rarely occurs in the United States.

      Scurvy - periungual hemorrhage

      illustration

    • Scurvy - corkscrew hair

      Scurvy - corkscrew hair - illustration

      Scurvy is a nutritional disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Pinpoint bleeding around hair follicles, and corkscrew hairs as seen in this picture, can occur as a result of scurvy. Bleeding along the gums is common. This disease rarely occurs in the United States.

      Scurvy - corkscrew hair

      illustration

    • Scurvy - corkscrew hairs

      Scurvy - corkscrew hairs - illustration

      Corkscrew hairs in hyperkeratotic follicles are pathognomonic of scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency. Petechiae and subungual hemorrhage may also be seen.

      Scurvy - corkscrew hairs

      illustration

     

    Review Date: 7/11/2019

    Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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