VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY (Scurvy)
VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY (Scurvy)
DESCRIPTIONVitamin C deficiency is an illness caused by inadequate intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the body to manufacture collagen, the connective tissue that helps form healthy bones, teeth, and capillaries, and promotes wound healing. The bones, teeth, gums, and capillaries are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSTender, swollen legs. The child prefers to lie with legs partly bent, and cries if moved.
Bleeding and bruising under the skin.
Tender ribs (sometimes)
Bleeding gums (if teeth are present).
Adolescents and adults:
Swollen, bleeding gums.
Loss of teeth.
Bleeding or bruising under your child's skin or into joints.
Weakness and fatigue.
Mental changes, including hallucinations and bizarre behavior.
Both children and adults:
Increased susceptibility to infection.
Infants and children:
Diet that is lacking in adequate vitamin C.
RISK FACTORSImproper diet, including following fad diets that don't include fruits and vegetables.
Loss of vitamin C from foods by overcooking or improper or prolonged storage.
Maintaining an infant on formula without vitamin supplements.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should eat a diet rich in vitamin C-containing foods. These include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and green vegetables, such as green peppers, broccoli, and cabbage. Your child can drink 4 to 6 ounces of orange juice a day for the minimum daily requirement of vitamin C.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory blood studies, such as blood counts for anemia, tests for blood levels of vitamin C, and bleeding and clotting tests.
X-rays of bones.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSFractures or dislocations, especially in children with tenderness (soreness) upon pressing the legs or ribs.
Curable with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements and a balanced diet that contains foods high in vitamin C. All symptoms and effects, except tooth loss, are reversible. Without treatment, vitamin C deficiency can be fatal.
HOME CARENo specific instructions except those listed under other headings.
MEDICATIONYour doctor will prescribe vitamin C tablets. Your child should not take more than the prescribed amount. Excessive doses of vitamin C can contribute to kidney-stone formation. If massive doses are suddenly decreased, scurvy can result.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Handle infants and children carefully to avoid bone or joint injury until the deficiency is corrected.
DIET & FLUIDSYour family should eat a well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in vitamin C (see PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS).
Take prenatal vitamin supplements if you are pregnant.
Provide your infant with vitamin supplements or vitamin-fortified formula.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.
Symptoms don't improve in 3 weeks despite treatment.