Terminology, Meanings and Descriptions of Illnesses

Terminology, Meanings and Descriptions of Genealogical Illnesses

  • Ablepsy – Blindness
  • Ague – Malarial fever
  • American plague – Yellow fever
  • Anasarca – Generalized massive edema
  • Aphonia – Laryngitis
  • Aphtha – Infant disease “thrush”
  • Apoplexy – Paralysis due to stroke
  • Asphicsia – Cyanotic and lack of oxygen
  • Asphycsia – 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 – 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 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 also 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 – 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 more than one day
  • Diptheria – Contagious disease of the throat
  • Distemper – Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat and 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 the colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood
  • Dysorexy – Reduced appetite
  • Dyspepsia – Indigestion and heartburn; heart attack symptoms
  • Eclampsy – Symptoms fo 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 the brain; aka sleeping sickness
  • Enteric fever – Typhoid fever
  • Enteritis – Inflammation of the bowels
  • Enterocolitis – Inflammation of the intestines
  • Epitaxis – Nose bleed
  • Erysipelas – Contagious skin disease due to Streptococci with vesiculas 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
  • Gathering – A collection of pus
  • Glandular fever – Mononucleosis
  • Great pox – Syphilis
  • Green fever – Anemia
  • Grippe/grip – Influenza-like symptoms
  • Grocer’s itch – Skin disease cause 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
  • Hectical complaint – Recurrent fever
  • Hematemesis – Vomiting blood
  • Hematuria – Bloody urine
  • Hemiplegy – Paralysis of one side of the body
  • Hip gout – Osteomylitis
  • Horrors – Delirium tremers
  • Hydrocephalus – – Enlarged head; water on the brain
  • Hydropericardium – Heart dropsy
  • Hydrophobia – Rabies
  • Hydrothroax – Dropsy in chest
  • Hypertrophic – Enlargement of an 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 cause 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 eight (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 an infant
  • Malignant sore throat – Diphtheria
  • Mania – Insanity
  • Marasmus – Progressive wasting away of the 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
  • Nephritis – 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
  • Paroxysm – Convulsion
  • Pemphigus – Skin disease of watery blisters
  • Pericarditis – Inflammation of the heart
  • Peripneumonia – Inflammation of the lungs
  • Peritonitis – Inflammation of the abdominal area
  • Petechial fever – Fever characterized by skin spotting
  • Phthiriasis – 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; Potter’s asthma
  • Pott’s disease – Tuberculosis of the 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 a 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 the skin
  • Septicemia – Blood poisoning
  • Shakes – Delirium tremens
  • Shaking – Chills; ague
  • Ship fever – Typhus
  • Siriasis – Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure
  • Sloes – Milk sickness
  • Small pox – Contagious disease with fever and blisters
  • Softing of brain – Result of stroke or hemmorhage 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 a 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 being bright red in appearance
  • St. Vitas dance – Ceaseless occurance of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntarily
  • 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 the UK in the 15th century
  • Tetanus – Infectious disease 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 by 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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