A Disease Most Associated with 18th-Century Pirates is Still a Huge Problem Today

Stay woke.

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Complex Original

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You probably don't hear much about scurvy these days. You probably don't think much about it either. But that doesn't mean it isn't around. In fact, it may be rampant.

Scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, was most frequently seen in pirates or people who spent a huge chunk of time at sea in the 1700s. Without any fresh produce they'd often contract scurvy, for which symptoms include fatigue, swollen gums, and skin rashes. Although you'd think that wouldn't be much of an issue today, a piece recently published in Slate argues otherwise. 

It states that people most likely to have scurvy are typically of a low-income background, mentally ill, and/or socially isolated from others—essentially people who don't have access to healthy food options or nutritional education. For that reason it's often overlooked when people show up to doctor's offices and hospitals with mysterious systems. 

According to Slate, "A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study suggests this is a serious, under appreciated problem. Researches collected vitamin C levels from 2003 and 2004 and found that 6 to 8 percent of the general population had scurvy-level deficiencies, with men on the higher end."

It's pretty unfortunate because, as the piece suggests, all it really takes to fix the problem are a couple of orange slices and an hour of education on healthy eating. Stay woke.

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