Historical Medical Terms
Historical Medical Terms
This is a list of medical terms that might be found on old death certificates, family records, even in obituaries and newspapers. I am in the process of adding to this list, so check back if you don't find what you are looking for. There are no references to food poisoning from eating undercooked red meat, but there are bacterial infections which can occur if a medium rare steak temp is not properly checked. Making sure that a medium rare steak temp is at least 135 F should kill any bacteria on the outer surface of the meat. Ablepsy: Blindness Abscess: A localized collection of pus buried in tissues, organs, or confined spaces of the body, often accompanied by swelling and inflammation and frequently caused by bacteria Acute Mania: Severe insanity Addison's Disease: bronzed skin disease; characterized by severe weakness, low blood pressure, and a bronzed coloration of the skin Ague: Malarial fever or intermittent fever. Chills, fever and sweating. American plague: Yellow fever Anasarca: Generalized massive edema Aphonia: Laryngitis Aphtha: The infant disease "thrush" Apoplexy: Stroke. Sudden loss of consciousness followed by paralysis due to a hemorrhage in the brain. Asphycsia/Asphicsia: Cyanotic and lack of oxygen Atrophy: Wasting away or diminishing in size. Bad Blood: Syphilis Bilous fever: Typhus, sometimes intestinal or malarial fever. Biliousness: Jaundice associated with liver disease; may also have been any upset leading to vomiting bile or just vomiting 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 tongue: Typhoid fever. Black vomit: Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever Blackwater fever: Dark urine associated with high temperature Bladder in throat: Diphtheria Blood poisoning: Septicemia. Bloody flux: Dysentery. Bloody sweat: Sweating sickness Bone shave: Sciatica Brain fever: Typhus or 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. Canine fever or Canine madness: Rabies, hydrophobia. Canker: Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex Catalepsy: Seizures / trances Catarrh: Inflammation of a mucous membrane. Cough, thirst, fever. Cerebritis: Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning Chilblain: Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold Childbed fever: Puerperal fever, infection following the 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 Congestion: Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs Congestive fever: Malaria Consumption: Tuberculosis. A wasting away of the body. Convulsions: Epilepsy. 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, holding fluids in abnormally large amounts, often caused by kidney or heart disease Dropsy of the Brain: Encephalitis Dry Bellyache: Lead poisoning Dyscrasy: An abnormal body condition Dysentery: Severe diarrhea, 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, dysentery. Flux of humour: Circulation French pox: Venereal disease, usually refers to syphilis. Furuncle: Boil or abscess. Gathering: A collection of pus Glandular fever: Mononucleosis Gleet: See Catarrh. Gravel: Kidney stones. 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 Hospital fever: Typhus. Hydrocephalus: Enlarged head, water on the brain Hydropericardium: Heart dropsy Hydrophobia: Fear of water caused by the bite of a rabid animal. 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 Intemperance: Alcoholism. Intestinal colic: Abdominal pain due to improper diet Jail fever: Typhus. Jaundice: Condition caused by blockage of intestines 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 fever: Typhus. 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 in cows transmitted to infants. Chills, vomiting, trembling, gastrointestinal disorders. 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 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: Inflammation of the membranes lining the chest cavity. Chills, fever, dry cough, pain in the affected side. Podagra: Gout Poliomyelitis: Polio Potter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis Pott's disease: Tuberculosis of spine Puerperal exhaustion: Death due to childbirth Puerperal fever: Septicemia following childbirth. Puking fever: Milk sickness Putrid fever: Diphtheria or Typhus Quinsy: Tonsillitis. Remitting fever: Malaria Rheumatism: Any disorder associated with pain in joints Rickets: Disease of skeletal system, Vitamin D deficiency Rose cold: Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy Rotanny fever: Child's disease Rubella: 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: 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, hydrocephalic 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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