Scurvy is the official name given to the lack of vitamin C. It can lead to anemia, debility, exhaustion, spontaneous bleeding, pain in the limbs, and especially the legs, swelling in some parts of the body, and sometimes ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth.
Scurvy has been known since ancient Greek and Egyptian times. It’s often associated with sailors in the 15th to 19th centuries, when long sea voyages made it a challenge to get a steady supply of fresh produce. A lot died from the effects.
It also happened during the Irish potato famine in 1965 and the American Civil War. The most recent documented outbreak was in Afghanistan in 2002, following war and drought.
Modern cases of scurvy are rare, especially where enriched breads and cereals are available; however, it can still affect people who don’t consume sufficient amounts of vitamin C.