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SCURVY

A MAJOR CAUSE OF DISABILITY SEEMS TO BE MAKING A COMEBACK, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Scurvy is a condition caused by a lack of vitamin C that was historically common among sailors on long voyages where fresh fruits and vegetables couldn’t be stored.  Michele Bellantoni, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, describes a recent study pointing to a return of scurvy, but today among older adults.

BELLANTONI:  There were 145 patients admitted to an inpatient geriatric medical ward and they were screened for scurvy in terms of clinical signs such as bleeding gums, skin rashes that involved almost like bleeding underneath the skin or areas around the hair follicles, and when individuals were found with these clinical symptoms, they then were tested for their blood levels of vitamin C.  They found that 12% of these older adults had clinical scurvy with vitamin C deficiency.         :33

Bellatoni says this is another nutritional deficiency that physicians need to be aware of when screening older adults.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.



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