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. 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
Missouri Records Kansas Records Cemetery Transcriptions
Census Transcriptions Marriage Records Obituary Index
Family Research Research Requests Email Webmaster

free web counter
Alienware Computer Coupons