Disease Terminology A - J

Often in genealogy as you do your research you encounter an archaic medical term used for the cause of death, or perhaps in a journal or family correspondence. This list is intended to aid with interpreting those terms.


Disease

Description

Ablepsy

Blindness

Ague

Malarial Fever

American plague

Yellow fever

Anasarca

Generalized massive edema

Aphonia

Laryngitis

Aphtha

The infant disease "thrush"

Apoplexy

Paralysis due to stroke

Asphycsia/Asphicsia

Cyanotic and lack of oxygen

Atrophy

Wasting away or diminishing in size.

Bad Blood

Syphilis

Bilious fever

Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis

Biliousness

Jaundice associated with liver disease

Black plague or death

Bubonic plague

Black fever

Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate

Black pox

Black Small pox

Black vomit

Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever

Blackwater fever

Dark urine associated with high temperature

Bladder in throat

Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)

Blood poisoning

Bacterial infection; septicemia

Bloody flux

Bloody stools

Bloody sweat

Sweating sickness

Bone shave

Sciatica

Brain fever

Meningitis

Breakbone

Dengue fever

Bright's disease

Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys

Bronze John

Yellow fever

Bule

Boil, tumor or swelling

Cachexy

Malnutrition

Cacogastric

Upset stomach

Cacospysy

Irregular pulse

Caduceus

Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy

Camp fever

Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea

Canine madness

Rabies, hydrophobia

Canker

Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex

Catalepsy

Seizures / trances

Catarrhal

Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy

Cerebritis

Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning

Chilblain

Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold

Child bed fever

Infection following birth of a child

Chin cough

Whooping cough

Chlorosis

Iron deficiency anemia

Cholera

Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing

Cholera morbus

Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis

Cholecystitus

Inflammation of the gall bladder

Cholelithiasis

Gall stones

Chorea

Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing

Cold plague

Ague which is characterized by chills

Colic

An abdominal pain and cramping

Congestive chills

Malaria

Consumption

Tuberculosis

Congestion

Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs

Congestive chills

Malaria with diarrhea

Congestive fever

Malaria

Corruption

Infection

Coryza

A cold

Costiveness

Constipation

Cramp colic

Appendicitis

Crop sickness

Overextended stomach

Croup

Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat

Cyanosis

Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood

Cynanche

Diseases of throat

Cystitis

Inflammation of the bladder

Day fever

Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness

Debility

Lack of movement or staying in bed

Decrepitude

Feebleness due to old age

Delirium tremens

Hallucinations due to alcoholism

Dengue

Infectious fever endemic to East Africa

Dentition

Cutting of teeth

Deplumation

Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss

Diary fever

A fever that lasts one day

Diptheria

Contagious disease of the throat

Distemper

Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia

Dock fever

Yellow fever

Dropsy

Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease

Dropsy of the Brain

Encephalitis

Dry Bellyache

Lead poisoning

Dyscrasy

An abnormal body condition

Dysentery

Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood

Dysorexy

Reduced appetite

Dyspepsia

Indigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms

Dysury

Difficulty in urination

Eclampsy

Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor

Ecstasy

A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason

Edema

Nephrosis; swelling of tissues

Edema of lungs

Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy

Eel thing

Erysipelas

Elephantiasis

A form of leprosy

Encephalitis

Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness

Enteric fever

Typhoid fever

Enterocolitis

Inflammation of the intestines

Enteritis

Inflations of the bowels

Epitaxis

Nose bleed

Erysipelas

Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions

Extravasted blood

Rupture of a blood vessel

Falling sickness

Epilepsy

Fatty Liver

Cirrhosis of liver

Fits

Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity

Flux

An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea

Flux of humour

Circulation

French pox

Syphilis

Gathering

A collection of pus

Glandular fever

Mononucleosis

Great pox

Syphilis

Green fever/sickness

Anemia

Grippe/grip

Influenza like symptoms

Grocer's itch

Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour

Heart sickness

Condition caused by loss of salt from body

Heat stroke

Body temperature elevates because of surrounding environment temperature and body does not perspire to reduce temperature. Coma and death result if not reversed.

Hectical complaint

Recurrent fever

Hematemesis

Vomiting blood

Hematuria

Bloody urine

Hemiplegy

Paralysis of one side of body

Hip gout

Osteomylitis

Horrors

Delirium tremens

Hydrocephalus

Enlarged head, water on the brain

Hydropericardium

Heart dropsy

Hydrophobia

Rabies

Hydrothroax

Dropsy in chest

Hypertrophic

Enlargement of organ, like the heart

Impetigo

Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules

Inanition

Physical condition resulting from lack of food

Infantile paralysis

Polio

Intestinal colic

Abdominal pain due to improper diet

Jail fever

Typhus

Jaundice

Condition caused by blockage of intestines

 

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