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Scurvy (a synonym a scurvy, Latin scorbutus) — the disease caused by an acute shortage of ascorbic acid in a human body (vitamin C).

Scurvy symptoms:

All trouble is that the substance known to us as vitamin C and for the first time allocated and synthesized only in 1932, is not formed in an organism of primacies (and the highest too – that is human). In this sense birds or, say, worms were lucky much more – they receive ascorbic acid from carbohydrates, for example, of glucose, and here the person can enrich the organism with this connection only from the consumed food, and, at complete cessation of intake of vitamin C with food stuffs in 4-12 weeks the scurvy develops.

Briefly the way from the first symptoms till a lethal outcome of this artful and dangerous disease can be described so: at first there is a slackness, breakdown and exhaustion, gingivas become friable, on them there are ulcers, teeth are loosened and drop out. Then the victims of a scurvy muscle pain because of constants in them of hemorrhages torments, there are hypodermic hematomas, the patient falls into a condition of apathy and a heavy depression and, eventually, at the body tormented with a diarrhea lungs and kidneys refuse – then death does not keep itself waiting. But this brevity only seeming: the disease lasts weeks and months, without leaving the person alone even for short time of drowsiness, a somnolence.

Symptoms of a scurvy are defined by participation of vitamin C in a number of the major biochemical processes:

    * It provides glucose penetration – the main nutritious substrate in cells of fabrics and bodies. There is no glucose? Exhaustion and breakdown develops.
    * He participates in formation of connecting fabric (collagen). There is no collagen? Gingivas are loosened, teeth drop out, walls of blood vessels become fragile and blood through them easily gets into fabrics and bodies, there are hematomas and bleeding.
    * Without it formation of serotonin – pleasure hormone is impossible. There is no serotonin – there is no pleasure – a depression and apathy.
    * It is necessary for normal functioning of intestinal microflora, otherwise dysbacteriosis, disturbance of nutritive absorption and synthesis of other vitamins develops. What conducts to chronic a diarrhea and to a bigger exhaustion.

Disturbance of above-mentioned biochemical processes involve loss of huge number of others, immunity decreases and anemia develops. A cause of death, most often – hemorrhage in a vital (a lung, a kidney) or the accruing heart failure.

Внешний вид больного цингой

Outward of the patient with a scurvy

Scurvy reasons:

The scurvy develops because of vitamin C shortcomings of an organism. Finally it leads to disturbance of synthesis of fibrous protein of collagen which is the main structural component of connecting fabric. As a result the connecting fabric which is present at any body including in a cover of blood vessels, loses the durability to become friable and is exposed to treatment by plasma and uniform elements of blood. The characteristic clinical picture of a scurvy is also explained by this process: a loosening and bleeding of gums, up to full dedentition, and multiple hemorrhages on a body.

The scurvy is the most widely known avitaminosis with long and extremely sad story, till the 18th century people did not even suspect about actual reasons of a disease, and throughout centuries it remained the mysterious fatal illness which is completely shrouded in a secret veil. Especially the scurvy among prisoners, poor people, inhabitants of the North and seamen where food was scanty and not only that insufficient on caloric content, so also almost "empty" in respect of minerals and vitamins behaved violently. This contingent owing to various vital conditions was forced to be content with bread and long stored products in which there were less and less biologically active agents eventually. Canned food was a basis of a diet of seamen in general, and they could only dream of fresh vegetables and fruit. That is why the "silent killer" nicknamed "a sea scurvy" literally "mowed clean" ranks of brave travelers at the time of the first round-the-world moreplavaniye. So, from 160 members of an expedition of Vasco da Gama in 1497 to coast of India, the final destination was reached by less than 60 people. The travel around Earth of the admiral George Enson in the 17th century ended not less tragicly: the English port left 6 ships with team about 2 thousand people, only a half of them returned, and in fights the commander did not lose any soldier – it the scurvy claimed nearly one thousand lives. The long lack of vitamins was more dangerous and stronger than weapon of any enemy.

There passed literally several decades and the captain James Cook who was already more informed concerning a scurvy at the end of the 18th century, directly by the ship prepared fir-tree beer with sugar – the fir-tree needles contain a lot of vitamin C. And it had in such a way fight against an illness thanks to researches of the Scottish doctor D. Linda who made the next experiment: it took twenty patients with a scurvy and ordered them different diets to define what food stuff helps to win against a disease. Two of group received every day lemons and oranges, and only they also recovered at the end of testing. Thus, the presumable origin of a disease – deficit of a certain vitamin with which a citrus is especially rich was established. In 1753 Lind published results of the clinical testing in "The treatise about a scurvy", but the few believed it at that time. Among that the few who believed there was also a captain Cook, in addition to fir-tree beer, loading the holds sauerkraut – one more source of ascorbic acid.

Only after more than 100 years after the experiments Linda, the merchant marine fleet of England received the order on delivery to the ships of lime juice for prevention of a scurvy, and nobody knows exact number of the died British as a result of these bureaucratic delays. But historians of medicine rather precisely counted that during 1600-1800 about one million seamen died from this serious "ship" illness. It exceeds human losses in all sea battles of that time. On the continent the scurvy was widespread since the 16th century and was observed, as a rule, in the isolated accumulations of people (prisons, remote settlements), and its mass flashes were fixed during the periods of wars, in the besieged fortresses.

With implementation in the agricultural industry of culture of potatoes of epidemic of a scurvy gradually descended on "no", this product in a daily food allowance is capable to prevent actively a hypovitaminosis With as contains a significant amount of ascorbic acid. A bright picture of how rather big group of people perishes from scorbutic exhaustion, it is possible to see in the work of the outstanding American writer and public figure Jack London "the Lord's Mistake". It was written in 1911, still before it was incontestably proved that the scurvy is caused by deficit of vitamin C and nothing another. In the story there is no word "vitamin", but re-reading the description of torments and rescue in the form of a portion of fresh potato juice, you are surprised, how precisely D. London understood the scurvy reason – some substance which was not, and could not be in preserved foods. And it quite naturally, work of the Polish scientist K. Funk where the term was for the first time entered, came out a little later.

It is considered that from the XX century and till present epidemic of a scurvy do not meet about what it is possible to read in any book about vitamins and the related diseases. However the disease still raged in Far East, Siberian and northern "labor camps" of the USSR of 1933-1953. The former prisoners of GULAG chewing fir-tree branches and drinking infusions and broths of a cedar elfin woodland when the scurvy claimed millions of the lives testified to it. Separate cases of a scurvy can be met and today. It is only worth peering more fixedly for a lattice of the prison cell or barracks somewhere in the far northern settlement.

Treatment of the Scurvy:

It is almost impossible to meet the started scurvy case today, as a last resort – it is long the existing hypovitaminosis With with initial symptoms of a disease.

Treatment and prevention of a scurvy consists in purpose of adequate doses of vitamin C inside or intravenously (250 mg of 4 times/days), and also observance of a full-fledged diet rich with fresh vegetables, fruit, berries and natural juice. At the expressed inflammation of a mucous membrane of an oral cavity apply rinsings by hydrogen peroxide, Solutio oleosa of vitamin E and And. At anemia add B12 vitamin to therapy of a scurvy injektsionno and iron preparations.

Drugs, drugs, tablets for treatment of the Scurvy:

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