Vitamin C deficiency, also referred to as ascorbic acid deficiency, is historically common among sailors who are deprived of having fresh fruits and vegetables for a prolonged period of time. Vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, which develops as a result of maladaptive formation of collagen.
The primary cause behind developing vitamin C deficiency problem attributes to a lack in dietary supply. If someone does not eat citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, berries, cabbages in sufficient amount, he or she may develop vitamin C deficiency disorders. Acute vitamin C deficiency may lead to scurvy including dentin formation and abnormal osteoid.
Vitamin C is very important for our system; however, our body can not store this vitamin in sufficient amount. This is why regular supply of vitamin C is mandatory. Vitamin C may get destroyed due to overcooking or overexposure to air. If a pregnant mother consumes an excessive amount of vitamin C, the degree of requirement for vitamin becomes higher for the neonates.
Signs and Symptoms
Vitamin C deficiency leads to extreme fragile condition. When it occurs in adults, the conditions like petechiae, follicular hyperkeratosis, ecchymoses, weakness, lethargy, pallor, bleeding gums, swollen gums, loose teeth, poor wound healing, ocular hemorrhages and insomnia become prevalent. When it occurs in children, the conditions such as tenderness, leg swelling, vomiting, diarrhea and fever become apparent.
At its extreme state, vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy and scurvy is potentially fatal. If diagnosed, treatment starts immediately to bring back the satisfactory level of vitamin C ingestion by a daily dose of 100-200 mg in either synthetic form or orange juice. In order to avoid vitamin C deficiency for individuals unwilling to consume vitamin C rich foods, vitamin C supplement is then administered. In such case, either vitamin C is administered orally or through slow intravenous injection. When administered, movement is strictly prohibited.
It is the duty of the health care practitioners to let the patients know about the importance of ascorbic acid in our body and how it helps our system. In addition, the health care practitioners should talk to the family members of the patient regarding the available dietary sources of vitamin C.