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Scurvy in Adult
See also in: Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Scurvy in Adult

See also in: Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Contributors: Christine S. Ahn MD, FAAD, William W. Huang MD, MPH, FAAD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Scurvy is an acquired condition caused by a prolonged deficiency of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). Vitamin C is a water-soluble, essential vitamin that can only be obtained through the diet. It is an essential co-factor in the cross-linking and stabilization of collagen, thus deficiency of this nutrient causes impaired collagen synthesis leading to poor wound healing, capillary fragility, and bone abnormalities.

Scurvy is a relatively rare diagnosis in the developed world. Pathognomonic clinical findings of scurvy include gingival bleeding and perifollicular petechiae with corkscrew hairs. Other common features include vascular fragility, manifesting as purpura, petechiae, ecchymoses, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Spontaneous hemorrhage into muscles, soft tissues, and joints can cause painful hematomas and hemarthroses. Constitutional symptoms include fatigue, weakness, and malaise.

Risk factors for developing scurvy include alcohol use, low socioeconomic status, restrictive diets or dietary fads, obesity, psychiatric disease, and malabsorption due to gastrointestinal disease. Additionally, the elderly, patients on dialysis, and individuals with increased metabolic requirements (such as pregnant or lactating women and patients with severe infections) are at increased risk. People who chronically abuse alcohol are particularly susceptible to scurvy not only due to poor dietary intake but also decreased ascorbic acid absorption.

Codes

ICD10CM:
E54 – Ascorbic acid deficiency

SNOMEDCT:
76169001 – Scurvy

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Last Reviewed: 10/04/2017
Last Updated: 10/11/2017
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Scurvy in Adult
See also in: Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Scurvy (Initial Stage) : Diarrhea, Fatigue, Fever, Malaise, Anorexia, Tachypnea
Clinical image of Scurvy
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