Disease Terminology K - Z

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

King's evil

Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands

Kruchhusten

Whooping cough

Lagrippe

Influenza

Lockjaw

Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw. Untreated, it is fatal in 8 days.

Long sickness

Tuberculosis

Lues disease

Syphilis

Lues venera

Venereal disease

Lumbago

Back pain

Lung fever

Pneumonia

Lung sickness

Tuberculosis

Lying in

Time of delivery of infant

Malignant sore throat

Diphtheria

Mania

Insanity

Marasmus

Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition

Membranous Croup

Diphtheria

Meningitis

Inflations of brain or spinal cord

Metritis

Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge

Miasma

Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air

Milk fever

Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis

Milk leg

Post partum thrombophlebitis

Milk sickness

Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds

Mormal

Gangrene

Morphew

Scurvy blisters on the body

Mortification

Gangrene of necrotic tissue

Myelitis

Inflammation of the spine

Myocarditis

Inflammation of heart muscles

Necrosis

Mortification of bones or tissue

Nephrosis

Kidney degeneration

Nepritis

Inflammation of kidneys

Nervous prostration

Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities

Neuralgia

Described as discomfort, such as "Headache" was neuralgia in head

Nostalgia

Homesickness

Palsy

Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as "Cause of death".

Paroxysm

Convulsion

Pemphigus

Skin disease of watery blisters

Pericarditis

Inflammation of heart

Peripneumonia

Inflammation of lungs

Peritonotis

Inflammation of abdominal area

Petechial Fever

Fever characterized by skin spotting

Puerperal exhaustion

Death due to child birth

Phthiriasis

Lice infestation

Phthisis

Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis

Plague

An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate

Pleurisy

Any pain in the chest area with each breath

Podagra

Gout

Poliomyelitis

Polio

Pott's disease

Tuberculosis of spine

Puerperal exhaustion

Death due to childbirth

Puerperal fever

Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant

Puking fever

Milk sickness

Putrid fever

Diphtheria

Quinsy

Tonsillitis

Remitting fever

Malaria

Rheumatism

Any disorder associated with pain in joints

Rickets

Disease of skeletal system

Rose cold

Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy

Rotanny fever

(Child's disease)?

Rubeola

German measles

Sanguineous crust

Scab

Scarlatina

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever

A disease characterized by red rash

Scarlet rash

Roseola

Sciatica

Rheumatism in the hips

Scirrhus

Cancerous tumors

Scotomy

Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight

Scrivener's palsy

Writer's cramp

Screws

Rheumatism

Scrofula

Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Progresses slowly with abscesses and pistulas develop. Young person's disease.

Scrumpox

Skin disease, impetigo

Scurvy

Lack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin.

Septicemia

Blood poisoning

Shakes

Delirium tremens

Shaking

Chills, ague

Shingles

Viral disease with skin blisters

Ship fever

Typhus

Siriasis

Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure

Sloes

Milk sickness

Small pox

Contagious disease with fever and blisters

Softening of brain

Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue softening in that area.

Sore throat distemper

Diphtheria or quinsy

Spanish influenza

Epidemic influenza

Spasms

Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion

Spina bifida

Deformity of spine

Spotted fever

Either typhus or meningitis

Sprue

Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat

St. Anthony's fire

Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance.

St. Vitas dance

Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary

Stomatitis

Inflammation of the mouth

Stranger's fever

Yellow fever

Strangery

Rupture

Sudor anglicus

Sweating sickness

Summer complaint

Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk

Sunstroke

Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat. Lack of sodium in the body is a predisposing cause.

Swamp sickness

Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis

Sweating sickness

Infectious and fatal disease common to UK in 15th century

Tetanus

Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness

Thrombosis

Blood clot inside blood vessel

Thrush

Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat

Tick fever

Rocky mountain spotted fever

Toxemia of pregnancy

Eclampsia

Trench mouth

Painful ulcers found along gum line. Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene.

Tussis convulsiva

Whooping cough

Typhus

Infectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness.

Variola

Smallpox

Venesection

Bleeding

Viper's dance

St. Vitus Dance

Water on brain

Enlarged head

White swelling

Tuberculosis of the bone

Winter fever

Pneumonia

Womb fever

Infection of the uterus.

Worm fit

Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea.

Yellowjacket

Yellow fever

 

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