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Risk Factors of Scurvy

Posted on 6/7/2021 by Dr. Burnham
Risk Factors of ScurvyThe severe lack of vitamin C in our body leads to a medical condition known as scurvy. In advanced stages, scurvy can cause bleeding from the gums, tooth decay, and tooth fall.

Even though anyone can be affected by scurvy, some people are more at risk as compared to others. The risk factors of scurvy are:


Women who are pregnant are at a higher risk of developing scurvy. During pregnancy, our dietary intake needs to be increased as the baby requires proper nutrients and nourishment to grow and develop. Women who are generally weak or do not eat a balanced diet are more at risk of scurvy because now the baby is absorbing all the nutrients from the little food that they consume during the day. This is the reason why during pregnancy, doctors prescribe a daily dosage of multivitamin supplements/ tablets to women. It ensures that their body does not become deficient in Vitamin C and other essential vitamins.

Drug or Alcohol Addiction

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are more at risk of scurvy. The increased dependency on drugs and alcohol leads to liver failure. The liver is a vital organ in our digestive system. It helps to break down the food that we consume and delivers the nutrients and other essential food components to other parts of our body. When the liver becomes weak and is unable to carry out its normal functions, the vitamin C that is naturally present in our food is not absorbed properly. This gradually makes our body deficient in Vitamin C and leads to scurvy.

Old Age

Generally, older adults are more malnourished as compared to young ones. In old age, people restrict themselves to a diet that is recommended by their doctors. The problem is that this diet is designed in a manner that makes it easier for it to digest but does not necessarily take into account other possible medical conditions like lack of vitamin C that can lead to scurvy.

Moreover, old people eat very little food and avoid eating fresh citrus fruits and raw vegetables out of fear that they might get a sore throat or that it may not digest properly. This makes their body deficient in essential vitamins and increases the risk of scurvy.


Poverty-stricken families, mostly in underdeveloped nations, have always been at a higher risk of scurvy. In fact, statistical analysis has shown that countries with a high rate of poverty have a high prevalence of scurvy, such as India, where more than 70% of the population is affected by scurvy. Poverty-stricken people are malnourished as they do not have the means and money to afford meals thrice a day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive to purchase from the markets. Their inability to consume these foods make their bodies deficient in Vitamin C, thereby increasing their risk of developing scurvy.

If you need more information on scurvy or if you are looking for a treatment for scurvy, then please give us a call at (541) 779-4517 and speak to one of our licensed practitioners.
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