What does scurvy look like
Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail by Stephen R. BownScurvy took a terrible toll in the Age of Sail, killing more sailors than were lost in all sea battles combined. The threat of the disease kept ships close to home and doomed those vessels that ventured too far from port. The willful ignorance of the royal medical elite, who endorsed ludicrous medical theories based on speculative research while ignoring the life-saving properties of citrus fruit, cost tens of thousands of lives and altered the course of many battles at sea. The cure for scurvy ranks among the greatest of human accomplishments, yet its impact on history has, until now, been largely ignored.
From the earliest recorded appearance of the disease in the sixteenth century, to the eighteenth century, where a man had only half a chance of surviving the scourge, to the early nineteenth century, when the British conquered scurvy and successfully blockaded the French and defeated Napoleon, Scurvy is a medical detective story for the ages, the fascinating true story of how James Lind (the surgeon), James Cook (the mariner), and Gilbert Blane (the gentleman) worked separately to eliminate the dreaded affliction.
Scurvy is an evocative journey back to the era of wooden ships and sails, when the disease infiltrated every aspect of seafaring life: press gangs recruit mariners on the way home from a late night at the pub; a terrible voyage in search of riches ends with a hobbled fleet and half the crew heaved overboard; Cook majestically travels the South Seas but suffers an unimaginable fate. Brimming with tales of ships, sailors, and baffling bureaucracy, Scurvy is a rare mix of compelling history and classic adventure story.
What Is Scurvy?
Most of us enjoy hearing stories about the squash-buckling pirates of the high seas in days long past! Often romanticized, their tales told of adventurers and rebels who lived and died by their own code. Johnny Depp and Disney has built a franchise off of these stories. However, life at sea was no picnic. Pirates along with other seafaring folks, like the navy, spent a large amount of time and effort battling a multitude of diseases.
Scurvy is a disease resulting from a lack of vitamin C ascorbic acid. It takes at least a month of little to no vitamin C in the diet before symptoms occur. Treatment is with vitamin C supplements taken by mouth. Scurvy currently is rare. Early symptoms are malaise and lethargy. After one to three months, patients develop shortness of breath and bone pain. Myalgias may occur because of reduced carnitine production.
Scurvy is a condition characterised by general weakness, anaemia , gingivitis gum disease , and skin haemorrhages caused by a prolonged deficiency of vitamin C ascorbic acid in the diet. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the formation of collagen , a major component of connective tissue. Connective tissue has structural and supportive functions which are indispensable to blood vessels and all tissues within the body. Vitamin C is also important in the proper functioning of the immune system, iron absorption, cholesterol metabolism and other biological activities. Thus scurvy has widespread effects. Scurvy was often seen in sailors on long ocean voyages described from the 15th century onwards.
It seems everybody knows someone who knows someone who got scurvy in college. So there was this guy, they say, who ate nothing but ramen for a month. Or pizza, according to one report from a Lifehacker staffer. Or porridge, according to one long-running Scottish legend. I have my doubts about these stories.