A 66-year-old Caucasian woman was admitted with deteriorating mental health in the setting of background history of schizophrenia and depression. Her husband reported that she had increasing negative thoughts and decreased motivation regarding her self-care over a few weeks with no obvious stressors. Initial laboratory tests were unremarkable except for isolated normocytic anaemia. Physical examination revealed widespread bilateral upper limb ecchymoses and lower limb petechial rash. After an extensive investigation with no definitive results to explain her clinical presentations, diagnosis of scurvy was suspected and confirmed with severely low serum vitamin C level. Her clinical symptoms improved markedly with oral supplementation, which further supported the diagnosis of scurvy. Although it is now a rare condition in developed countries, this case will remind modern medical practitioners that patients with scurvy may present with non-specific symptoms and clinical findings such as depression and anaemia.
- nutrition and metabolism
- vitamins and supplements
- haematology (incl blood transfusion)
- depressive disorder
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