Scurvy-a Deficiency Disease
Several centuries ago when Europeans first began to take long voyages by sea, many of the sailors would come down with a mysteries disease, scurvy, Which seemed to affect the larger joints of the body. It was a peculiar form of arthritis, often associated with bleeding into the joints. The gums would be affected, and the teeth would loosen and fall out.
Bleeding points appeared on exposed areas, such as on the shins, and the edge of the bone would become swollen and tender to touch. Pinpoint hemorrhages would appear in various parts, and the patient would feel weak, tired, and irritable. He would complain of soreness and aching in the muscles. But this strange disease, scurvy, always cleared up soon after the sailors reached land and began to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
What was this secret substance in fruits and vegetable that prevented scurvy? No one knew for sure. But some wise doctor in the British navy prescribed a plentiful supply of limes and lemons for the sailors. People laughed about it at the time, but this simple addition to the diet had a surprisingly good effect on the health of the men. From that time on these wide-roving sailors have been called “limeys” The limes and lemons provided an adequate supply of vitamin C. thus scurvy, which we now know is duet to a lack of vitamin C. was the first deficiency disease to be recognized and treated successfully.