Old Medical Terms

  • Old Medical Terminology
    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

    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 - PolioPotter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis
    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.

This list was provided by: Dan Burrows

Epidemics of the Past


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