In adults the disease is characterized by general weakness, spongy bleeding gums, loose teeth with resorbed dentine, swollen tender joints and hemorrhages in various tissues.
The first symptoms reported in scurvy are weakness, easy fatigue and listlessness. These are followed quickly by shortness of breath, pain in bones, joints and muscles of the extremities.
Haemorrhages deep in muscle occur particularly in calf, thigh and forearm, causing pain in surrounding tissues. Haemorrhages may occur in joints, causing swelling and pain in joints.
As ascorbic acid deficiency advances, the gums become swollen, blue-red, spongy and very friable. They may become infected by bacteria. The teeth loosen in the alveolar bone.
Ascorbic acid deficiency delays healing of wounds. This is due to the fact that in ascorbic acid deficiency collagen formation is affected. The rapid healing of a wound requires the formation of strong connective tissue in the scar.