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Scurvy: a disease almost forgotten.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Although much decreased in prevalence, scurvy still exists in industrialized societies. Few recent large studies have examined its pathogenesis, signs, and symptoms.

METHODS

After we diagnosed scurvy in a 77-year-old female patient in 2003, we conducted a retrospective records review to identify patients with scurvy treated between 1976 and 2002 at Mayo Clinic (Scottsdale, Arizona; Rochester, Minnesota; or Jacksonville, Florida). We also searched the English-language medical literature for published reports on scurvy.

RESULTS

In addition to our patient, seven of 11 patients whose records in the institutional database mentioned vitamin C deficiency were women. The age ranged from a neonate to 77 years (mean, 48 years). The most common associated causes were concomitant gastrointestinal disease, poor dentition, food faddism, and alcoholism. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies other than vitamin C deficiency were also found in our patients who had scurvy. The most common symptoms were bruising, arthralgias, or joint swelling. The most common signs were pedal edema, bruising, or mucosal changes. Four patients had vague symptoms of myalgias and fatigue without classic findings, and five had concomitant nutritional deficiencies. Follow-up available for six of 12 patients treated by vitamin C supplementation showed complete resolution of symptoms in five.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with scurvy may present with classic symptoms and signs or with nonspecific clinical symptoms and an absence of diagnostically suggestive physical findings. Concomitant deficiency states occur not uncommonly. Taking a thorough dietary history and measuring serum ascorbic acid levels should be considered for patients with classic signs and symptoms, nonspecific musculoskeletal complaints, or other vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Dermatology, Division of Regional and International Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona 85259, USA.

    , ,

    Source

    International journal of dermatology 45:8 2006 Aug pg 909-13

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Adult
    Aged
    Ascorbic Acid Deficiency
    Child
    Child, Preschool
    Female
    Follow-Up Studies
    Humans
    Infant
    Infant, Newborn
    Male
    Middle Aged
    Retrospective Studies
    Scurvy

    Pub Type(s)

    Case Reports
    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    16911372

    Citation

    Olmedo, Jesse M., et al. "Scurvy: a Disease Almost Forgotten." International Journal of Dermatology, vol. 45, no. 8, 2006, pp. 909-13.
    Olmedo JM, Yiannias JA, Windgassen EB, et al. Scurvy: a disease almost forgotten. Int J Dermatol. 2006;45(8):909-13.
    Olmedo, J. M., Yiannias, J. A., Windgassen, E. B., & Gornet, M. K. (2006). Scurvy: a disease almost forgotten. International Journal of Dermatology, 45(8), pp. 909-13.
    Olmedo JM, et al. Scurvy: a Disease Almost Forgotten. Int J Dermatol. 2006;45(8):909-13. PubMed PMID: 16911372.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Scurvy: a disease almost forgotten. AU - Olmedo,Jesse M, AU - Yiannias,James A, AU - Windgassen,Elizabeth B, AU - Gornet,Michael K, PY - 2006/8/17/pubmed PY - 2007/1/11/medline PY - 2006/8/17/entrez SP - 909 EP - 13 JF - International journal of dermatology JO - Int. J. Dermatol. VL - 45 IS - 8 N2 - BACKGROUND: Although much decreased in prevalence, scurvy still exists in industrialized societies. Few recent large studies have examined its pathogenesis, signs, and symptoms. METHODS: After we diagnosed scurvy in a 77-year-old female patient in 2003, we conducted a retrospective records review to identify patients with scurvy treated between 1976 and 2002 at Mayo Clinic (Scottsdale, Arizona; Rochester, Minnesota; or Jacksonville, Florida). We also searched the English-language medical literature for published reports on scurvy. RESULTS: In addition to our patient, seven of 11 patients whose records in the institutional database mentioned vitamin C deficiency were women. The age ranged from a neonate to 77 years (mean, 48 years). The most common associated causes were concomitant gastrointestinal disease, poor dentition, food faddism, and alcoholism. Vitamin or mineral deficiencies other than vitamin C deficiency were also found in our patients who had scurvy. The most common symptoms were bruising, arthralgias, or joint swelling. The most common signs were pedal edema, bruising, or mucosal changes. Four patients had vague symptoms of myalgias and fatigue without classic findings, and five had concomitant nutritional deficiencies. Follow-up available for six of 12 patients treated by vitamin C supplementation showed complete resolution of symptoms in five. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with scurvy may present with classic symptoms and signs or with nonspecific clinical symptoms and an absence of diagnostically suggestive physical findings. Concomitant deficiency states occur not uncommonly. Taking a thorough dietary history and measuring serum ascorbic acid levels should be considered for patients with classic signs and symptoms, nonspecific musculoskeletal complaints, or other vitamin or mineral deficiencies. SN - 0011-9059 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16911372/Scurvy:_a_disease_almost_forgotten_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2006.02844.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -