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Genealogy Tip of the Day!
Every Age

Census records are not the only ones that May provide your ancestor’s age. Affidavits in pension applications‚ statements made in court‚ or other records May also give the age of your ancestor. These statements May be particularly helpful for individuals who died in the United States before the 1850 census began asking for specific ages.

Diseases and Medical Terms in Old Documents

Use this table to help interpret older medical records and other documents citing unfamiliar medical terms.

 

term

definition

Abscess An Abcess forms when pus accumulates in a localized area of the body. An abcess is caused by infection from bacteria viruses parasites and fungi. The infection becomes swollen tender and inflamed and there May be associated fever and chills. An abcess can be the result of an injury and it can be internal or external. Some abcesses are removed through surgery.
Acute Mania Insanity.
Addison’s Disease A disease characterized by severe weakness low blood pressure gastrointestinal problems and a brownish pigmentation of the skin resulting from the decreased secretion of cortisol from the adrenal gland.
Ague Malarial or intermittent fever characterized by stages of chills fever and sweating at regularly recurring times and followed by an interval or intermission of varying duration. Also called fever and ague chill fever the shakes and swamp fever.
Ague-cake Enlargement of the spleen resulting from the effects of malaria.
American Plague American Plague also called Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted to man by a specific type of mosquito Aedes aegypti. This mosquito type is commonly found in the tropical forests of South America and Africa. Both the Aedes mosquito and the yellow fever virus must be present together to spread the disease.
Anasarca Generalized massive dropsy also known as adema. It is the accumulation of fluid in the body; it May affect all parts of the body although it commonly occurs in the feet and ankles. The bloating and swelling causes muscle aches and pains. Edema May be caused by allergies or disorders of the kidney bladder heart or liver.
Anemia Anemia occurs when the blood’s ability to carry oxygen is reduced. A low red blood cell count will manifest as weakness dizzinesspaleness depression instability soreness of mouth and amennorhea. The mineral iron is critical because iron makes hemoglobin which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. Without sufficient iron intake the function of rbc’s will be impaired. Anemia can be difficult to recognize but the first symptoms might include loss of appetite headaches constipation irritability and difficulty with concentration.
Aphonia Aphonia also called laryngitis exists when a person has no voice or has lost their voice due to an inflammation of the larynx.
Apoplexy Apoplexy results in a sudden loss of consciousness followed by paralysis caused by hemorrhage into the brain formation of an embolus or thrombus that occludes an artery or rupture of an extracerebral artery causing subarachnoid hemorrhage. Symptoms: Onset is acute. Unconsciousness. Labored breathing due to paralysis of portion of the soft palate; expiration puffs out the cheeks and mouth. Pupils sometimes unequal the larger one being on the side of the hemorrhage. Paralysis usually involves one side of the body with eyeballs turned away from the affected side skin covered with clay sweat surface temperature of the skin is often subnormal; speech disturbances. Onset more gradual if caused by a thrombosis.
Aphthae Thrush is a disease characterized by whitish spots and ulcers on the membranes of the mouth tongue and fauces caused by a parasitic fungus. Also called aphthae sore mouth aphthous stomatitis.
Aphthous stomatitis These are painful mouth ulcerations that appear on the tongue inside the cheeks and on the lips and gums. They have white centers with a red border and their size can be as large as a quarter. They usually appear and leave quickly (4 to 20 days). Triggers include: stress food allergies poor dental hygiene and fatigue.
Ascites Ascites is another term for dropsy also known as adema. It is the accumulation of fluid in the body; it May affect all parts of the body although it commonly occurs in the feet and ankles. The bloating and swelling causes muscle aches and pains. Edema May be caused by allergies or disorders of the kidney bladder heart or liver.
Asthenia Abnormal bodily weakness or feebleness; decay of strength. This was a term descriptive of a patient’s condition and of no help in making a diagnosis. Also called asthenia.
Bad Blood An old term for syphilis which is an infectious venereal disease. Untreated it can ultimately lead to the degeneration of bones heart nerve tissue etc. In earlier centuries syphilis commonly reached the third stage which is rare today and caused brain damage hearing loss heart disease and/or blindness occur.
Bilious fever Another term used in place of typhus which is an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Symptoms include headache arthralgia and myalgia chills high fever falling blood pressure stupor delirium rash that begins on chest and spreads to rest of trunk and extremities The early rash is faint and rose colored and fades with pressure. Later the lesions become dull red and do not fade. People with severe typhus May also develop petechiae. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever putrid fever ship fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever and camp fever. It is also a term loosely applied to other intestinal and malarial fevers.
Biliousness Biliousness is a condition in which the bile (which is very bitter) is brought up to the mouth from the stomach.
Black Death Another term used to indicate Bubonic plague a disease that has had a major impact on the history of the world. Caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and transmitted by fleas often found on rats bubonic plague has killed over 50 million people over the centuries. Burrowing rodent populations across the world keep the disease present in the world today. Outbreaks though often small still occur in many places. The use of antibiotics and increased scientific knowledge first gained in the 1890s have reduced the destruction of plague outbreaks. In Medieval times with the unknowing help of humans bubonic plague exploded into a pandemic. Known as the ³Black Death² it decimated Europe in 1350 killing 1/3 of the population. It disrupted government trade and commerce. It reshaped people¹s perspectives on life and Christianity and found expression in many works of art. Bubonic plague¹s influence and effects have shaped events of the past and part of our world today.
Blood Poisoning Blood poisoning also called Septicemia is when toxins or disease-causing bacteria begin growing in the blood.
Boil A boil May also be called a furuncle. It appears as a tender pus-filled area of skin that appears suddenly. Symptoms of boil formation include: itching mild pain and localized swelling. The nearest lymph glands to the boil also becomes swollen. Causes include: bacterial infection stress illness decreased immunity toxicity allergy and thyroid imbalance. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils which have spread through infection.
Brain Fever Meningitis is an infection of the three membranes the meninges that lie between the brain and the skull. The disease is contagious. It can be caused by poor nutrition and any number of viruses such as poliomyelitis and measles fungi including yeast or bacteria like meningococcus pneumococcus streptococcus and tuberculosis. It May result from severe infection of the nose and throat or spread through the bloodstream. It is more common in children than adults. Early symptoms are: sore throat red or purple skin rash and signs of a previous recent respiratory disorder. Other classic symptoms include stiff neck headache high fever chills nausea vomiting delirium and sensitivity to light. Change in temperament and sleepiness signal changes in the cerebral fluid and frequently precede coma and death. An acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. The epidemic or classic form is louse borne; the endemic or murine is flea borne.
Bronchial asthma Asthma is caused by the spasms in the smooth muscles surrounding the bronchi and bronchioles (small airways in the lungs) causing the passageways to partially close. The spasms are accompanied with increased mucus which clogs the bronchioles/bronchi and worsens the attack. It is triggered by an allergic response and the immune system produces histamine; thus any type of allergen can precipitate an asthma attack. It results in difficulty breathing (especially exhalation) coughing wheezing and a tight chest. This above condition is specifically known as bronchial asthma. Cardiac asthma is the result of a heart malfunction.
Bubonic Plague Bubonic plague has had a major impact on the history of the world. Caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and transmitted by fleas often found on rats bubonic plague has killed over 50 million people over the centuries. Burrowing rodent populations across the world keep the disease present in the world today. Outbreaks though often small still occur in many places. The use of antibiotics and increased scientific knowledge first gained in the 1890s have reduced the destruction of plague outbreaks. In Medieval times with the unknowing help of humans bubonic plague exploded into a pandemic. Known as the ³Black Death² it decimated Europe in 1350 killing 1/3 of the population. It disrupted government trade and commerce. It reshaped people¹s perspectives on life and Christianity and found expression in many works of art. Bubonic plague¹s influence and effects have shaped events of the past and part of our world today.
Camp fever An acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. The epidemic or classic form is louse borne; the endemic or murine is flea borne. Also called typhus fever malignant fever (in the 1850s) jail fever hospital fever ship fever putrid fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever petechial fever camp fever.
Cancer A malignant and invasive growth or tumor. In the nineteenth century cancerous tumors tended to ulcerate grew constantly and progressed to a fatal end and that there was scarcely a tissue they would not invade. Also called a malignant growth carcinoma.
Cancrum otis A severe destructive eroding ulcer of the cheek and lip. In the last century it was seen in delicate ill-fed ill-tended children between the ages of two and five. The disease was the result of poor hygiene. It was often fatal. The disease could in a few days lead to gangrene of the lips cheeks tonsils palate tongue and even half the face; teeth would fall from their sockets. Synonyms: canker water canker noma gangrenous stomatitis gangrenous ulceration of the mouth.
Canine Madness Hydorphobia.
Canker An ulcerous sore of the mouth and lips not considered fatal today.
Carditis Inflammation of the heart wall.
Catalepsy Similar to a catatonic state catalepsy occurs when a subject freezes in almost any abnormal posture in which he or she is placed (waxy flexibility). In earlier centuries observers thought they were seized or in a trance.
Catarrh Inflammation of a mucous membranes in the air passages of the head and throat Bronchial catarrh was bronchitis; suffocative catarrh was croup; urethral catarrh was gleet; vaginal catarrh was leukorrhea; epidemic catarrh was the same as influenza. Also called cold coryza.
Chlorosis iron deficiency anemia
Cholera An acute infectious disease characterized by profuse diarrhea vomiting and cramps. Cholera is spread by feces-contaminated water and food.
Cholera infantum A common noncontagious diarrhea of young children occurring in summer or autumn. It was common among the poor and in hand-fed babies. Death frequently occurred in three to five days. Also called: summer complaint weaning brash water gripes choleric fever of children cholera morbus.
Chorea Any of several diseases of the nervous system characterized by jerky movements that appear to be well coordinated but are performed involuntarily chiefly of the face and extremities. Also called: Saint Vitus’ Dance.
Chlorosis A form a anemia in which there is a serious iron deficency. The iron in blood helps carry oxygen to all the tissues in the body. Without this iron the body can’t use the oxygen you breathe. Iron is an important part of hemoglobin a compound in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body and returns carbon dioxide a waste product from the rest of the body to the lungs where it is breathed out. When someone is anemic they don’t have enough red blood cells. The most common cause of anemia is not having enough iron to form a normal amount of hemoglobin.
Cholera Aacute gastro-intestinal infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It has a short incubation period of one to five days and causes watery diarrhoea leading to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not provided rapidly. Vomiting occurs in most cases. However less than 10 percent of the infected suffer moderate or severe dehydration and most never develop the full symptoms. Cholera is spread through contaminated water and food.
Chorea A nervous disorder. Also called St. Vitus’ Dance
Colic Paroxysmal pain in the abdomen or bowels. Infantile colic is benign paroxysmal abdominal pain during the first three months of life. Colic rarely caused death. Renal colic can occur from disease in the kidney gallstone colic from a stone in the bile duct.
Congestion An excessive or abnormal accumulation of blood or other fluid in a body part or blood vessel. In congestive fever the internal organs become gorged with blood.
Congestive Fever Another term for malaria which is an acute and sometimes chronic infectious disease due to the presence of protozoan parasites within red blood cells. These parasites are discharged through salivary ducts when the mosquito bites a person. The causative organism is transmitted through bites of infected female mosquitoes of the genus anopheles. Also May be transmitted by blood transfusion. The incubation period averages 1 days to 30 days. Symptoms: Various derangements of the digestive and nervous systems; characterized by periodicity chills fever and sweats in the order mentioned having pathological manifestations of progressive anemia splenic enlargement and deposition in various organs of a melanin resulting from biological activity of the parasite.
Consumption An old term for pulmonary tuberculosis also called marasmus in the mid-nineteenth century Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is usually caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Infection May result from inhalation of minute droplets of infected sputum which are given off by coughing talking or sneezing. Tuberculosis most often affects the lungs and the plurae however bones and kidneys May also be affected and sometimes the intestines spleen and liver. In most cases the infection involves the top of the lungs where if the infected person is not immune the bacteria grow freely with in the body and spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. Eventually the patient develops immunity and the bacteria stop spreading. They become surrounded by scar tissue and do not cause further damage. At a later stage the protective layer of scar tissue May break down. It is well established that poor nitrition is one of the primary causes of TB in conjuntion with unsanitary living conditions loss of sleep overwork and a sedentary lifestyle which all contribute to a lowered immune system as well. SYMPTOMS: Initially resemble influenza which May include a cough. Mild symptoms include fatigue and appitite and weight loss. More severe symptoms include fever increased perspiration or severe night sweats chronic fatigue continued weight loss chest pain shortness of breath and infected urine. In advanced cases coughing up blood is initially seen.
Convulsions Severe contortion of the body caused by violent involuntary muscular contractions of the extremities trunk and head.
Corruption An old term for an infection. Infection occurs when disease-causing microorganisms (bacteria viruses or fungi) establis a colony in the body. They begin to reproduce and damage the other cells of the body either directly or indirectly through the toxins released from the microorganisms. Their presence usually elicits an immune response from the body. Sometimes these microorganisms spread throughout the body causing a systemic infection; other times the infection remains localized.
Coryza Coryza an old term for the common cold is an inflammation of a mucous membranes in the air passages of the head and throat Bronchial catarrh was bronchitis; suffocative catarrh was croup; urethral catarrh was gleet; vaginal catarrh was leukorrhea; epidemic catarrh was the same as influenza.
Costiveness Another word for constipation a condition resulting from slow moving wastes through the colon. Causes include: lack of fiber; lack of fluids; side effect of iron supplements pain killers and antidepressants; and pregnancy.
Cramp Colic An old term for appendicitis which is an inflammation of the appendix a small intestinal pouch that extends from the cecum the first part of the large intestine. The appendix has no known function but it can become diseased. Infection appears for unknown reasons usually with bacteria from the intestinal tract. The appendix May become obstructed from contents moving through intestinal tract or by a constricting band of tissue. When infected it becomes swollen inflamed and filled with pus. Death can result from possible complication including a rupturing of the appendix abscess formation and peritonitis. This is more common in older persons. A common cause of death in earlier centuries.
Croup Croup is an inflammation and swelling of the larynx and surrounding tissues. Usually due to a viral infection. There is a typical “barking” cough and breathing May be labored. Usually affects younger children commonly under 6 years of age.
Debility Abnormal bodily weakness or feebleness; decay of strength. This was a term descriptive of a patient’s condition and of no help in making a diagnosis. Also called asthenia.
Diphtheria An acute infectious disease acquired by contact with an infected person or a carrier of the disease. It was usually confined to the upper respiratory tract (throat) and characterized by the formation of a tough membrane (false membrane) attached firmly to the underlying tissue that would bleed if forcibly removed. In the nineteenth century the disease was occasionally confused with scarlet fever and croup.
Diverticulitis This condition is characterized by small pouch-like formations of the large intestine formed when the mucous membranes of the colon become inflamed. These pouches or diverticula often form with constipation and they cause symptoms when the waste matter becomes trapped in the pouches which then become infected and inflamed. Poor diet and stress are major contrbuters to diverticulitis. Symptoms include: cramping tenderness on the left side of the abdomen which is relieved with a bowel movement or with passing gas constipation diarrhea and nausea.
Dropsy Dropsy also known as adema it is the accumulation of fluid in the body; it May affect all parts of the body although it commonly occurs in the feet and ankles. The bloating and swelling causes muscle aches and pains. Edema May be caused by allergies or disorders of the kidney bladder heart or liver.
Dysentery Dysentery describes a group of infections characterized by inflammation of the small and large intestine with diarrhea often containing blood. The two main types are amoebic dysentery of the tropics and bacillary dysentery which occurs throughout the world.
Dysepsia Acid indigestion.
Eclampsia The occurrence of seizures that are not attributed to another cause during pregnancy (usually in the 3rd trimester).
Effluvia Exhalations. In the mid-nineteenth century they were called “vapours” and distinguished into the contagious effluvia such as rubeolar (measles); marsh effluvia such as miasmata.
Emphysema A chronic irreversible disease of the lungs.
Enteric fever Typhoid fever An infectious often-fatal disease usually occurring in the summer months–characterized by intestinal inflammation and ulceration. The name came from the disease’s similarity to typhus. Also called typhoid fever.
Epilepsy Epilepsy is characterized by seizures of which there are several types. Seizures are caused by electrical disturbances of nerve cells in one area of the brain. 75% of seizures begin in childhood. The cause of epilepsy is often unknown. Some causes May include: infection meningitis rickets rabies tetanus malnutrition hypoglycemia sports injuries head injuries fevers and allergies. A disorder of the nervous system characterized either by mild episodic loss of attention or sleepiness (petittnal) or by severe convulsions with loss of consciousness. Also called a grand mal seizure falling sickness fits.
Erysipelas Erysipelas is an infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue caused by streptococcus. This condition causes systemic (whole body) symptoms including fever chills nausea and vomiting.
Extravasted blood A ruptured blood vessel.
Falling Sickness An old term used for epilepsy. Epilepsy is characterized by seizures of which there are several types. Seizures are caused by electrical disturbances of nerve cells in one area of the brain. 75% of seizures begin in childhood. The cause of epilepsy is often unknown. Some causes May include: infection meningitis rickets rabies tetanus malnutrition hypoglycemia sports injuries head injuries fevers and allergies. A disorder of the nervous system characterized either by mild episodic loss of attention or sleepiness (petittnal) or by severe convulsions with loss of consciousness. Also called a grand mal seizure falling sickness fits.
Fatty Liver Another term for cirrhosis of the liver. Although cirrhosis is normally associated with alcohol abuse the term cirrhosis refers to the replacement of liver cells by non-functioning fibrous tissues and shrinking of the liver all of which occur when liver cells cease functioning. Malnutrition prolonged obstruction of the flow of bile congestive heart failure and syphilis May also lead to cirrhosis.
Flux A term given to a number of disorders marked by inflammation of the intestines (especially of the colon). There are two specific varieties: (1) amebic dysentery (2) bacillary dysentery. Also called: flux bloody flux contagious pyrexia (fever) frequent griping stools.
French Pox Various forms of venereal disease.
Furuncle An abscess of skin or painful inflammation of the skin or a hair follicle usually caused by a staphylococcal infection. Also called a boil.
Gangrene Gangrene is the death of tissue leading to blackness of the skin over the affected area. There are 2 types of gangrene: dry and wet. Dry gangrene results from low blood flow to a tissue; there is usually no bacterial infection and it does not spread to other tissues. Possible causes include: arteriosclerosis diabetes mellitus thrombosis embolism poor circulation and frostbite. Wet gangrene develops when a wound or dry gangrene become infected by bacteria. Careful hygiene is the best prevention for wet gangrene. Once diagnosed as wet gangrene amputation of the area and antibiotics May be required.
Glandular Fever Infected glands May also be mononucleosis known as glandular fever. This is an acute viral infection which results in swollen lymph glands in the neck armpits and groin accompanied with a severe sore throat due to tonsillitis. Recovery with lots of rest occurs after 4-6 weeks.
Gleet An old term for the common cold. Colds are caused by a virus that has hundreds of different forms; the virus is always changing its shape size and form. A cold takes place in the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms include: head congestion difficulty breathing coughing headaches fever sneezing watery eyes aches and pains. Stress and poor diet weaken the immune system and contribute to the cold. Also called cold coryza.
Gout Gout ia hereditary metabolic disease that is a form of acute arthritis and is marked by inflammation of the joints. Joints affected May be at any location but gout usually begins in the knee or foot. Excessive uric acid (hyperuricemia) in the blood and deposits of urates of sodium in and around the joints. Several different metabolic abnormalities this condition. Approximately 90% of gout patients are male. The peak age for onset of symptoms in men is between 40 and 50; women rarely have gout before menopause. Gout is closely related to the diet but May be brought on by stress. Obesity and an improper diet increase the tendency for gout. Also called the “disease of kings” and “rheumatism of the rich” because of the rich diets people consume. Symptoms: Most cases are without symptoms. When an acute attack occurs it usually begins at night with moderate pain that increases in intensity to the point where no body position provides relief.
Gravel A disease characterized by small stones which are formed in the kidneys passed along the ureters to the bladder and expelled with the urine. Also called a kidney stone.
Green Sickness Gree sickness an old term used to describe anemia occurs when the blood’s ability to carry oxygen is reduced. A low red blood cell count will manifest as weakness dizzinesspaleness depression instability soreness of mouth and amennorhea. The mineral iron is critical because iron makes hemoglobin which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. Without sufficient iron intake the function of rbc’s will be impaired. Anemia can be difficult to recognize but the first symptoms might include loss of appetite headaches constipation irritability and difficulty with concentration.
Grippe Grippe an old term for influenza or flu is a highly contagious respiratory viral infection. Spread easily by coughing sneezing and poor hygiene. Symptoms: Early stages similar to the common cold are headache weakness and aching of back arms and legs. Dry throat and cough tired quickly loss of appetite and sometimes nausea and vomiting. High fatality rates from influenza ended during the 20th century.
Hectic Fever A daily recurring fever with profound sweating chills and flushed appearance– often associated with pulmonary tuberculosis or septic poisoning.
Hives A skin eruption of smooth slightly elevated areas on the skin which is redder or paler than the surrounding skin. Often attended by severe itching. Also called cynanche trachealis. In the mid-nineteenth century hives was a commonly given cause of death of children three years and under. Because true hives does not kill croup was probably the actual cause of death in those children.
Hospital fever Another term used in place of typhus which is an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Symptoms include headache arthralgia and myalgia chills high fever falling blood pressure stupor delirium rash that begins on chest and spreads to rest of trunk and extremities The early rash is faint and rose colored and fades with pressure. Later the lesions become dull red and do not fade. People with severe typhus May also develop petechiae. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever putrid fever ship fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever and camp fever.
Hydrocephalus A contraction for hydropsy. The presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid. Congestive heart failure.
Hydrothorax A contraction for hydropsy. The presence of abnormally large amounts of fluid. Congestive heart failure.
Icterus Icterus also called jaundice is the build-up of bilirubin in the blood which causes a “yellowing” of the skin urine and whites of the eyes. Jaundice is an indicator of blood or liver disorders (such as cirrhosis pernicious anemia and hepatitis) or it May be a sign that there is an obstruction (such as a tumor gallstone or inflammation) blocking the bile flow from the liver.
Inanition Exhaustion from lack of nourishment; starvation.
Infection In the early part of the last century infections were thought to be the propagation of disease by effluvia (see above) from patients crowded together. “Miasms” were believed to be substances which could not be seen in any form–emanations not apparent to the senses. Such miasms were understood to act by infection.
Inflammation Redness swelling pain tenderness heat and disturbed function of an area of the body. In the last century cause of death often was listed as inflammation of a body organ–such as brain or lung–but this was purely a descriptive term and is not helpful in identifying the actual underlying disease.
Jail fever Another term used in place of typhus which is an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Symptoms include headache arthralgia and myalgia chills high fever falling blood pressure stupor delirium rash that begins on chest and spreads to rest of trunk and extremities The early rash is faint and rose colored and fades with pressure. Later the lesions become dull red and do not fade. People with severe typhus May also develop petechiae. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever putrid fever ship fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever and camp fever.
Jaundice Jaundice also called icterus is the build-up of bilirubin in the blood which causes a “yellowing” of the skin urine and whites of the eyes. Jaundice is an indicator of blood or liver disorders (such as cirrhosis pernicious anemia and hepatitis) or it May be a sign that there is an obstruction (such as a tumor gallstone or inflammation) blocking the bile flow from the liver.
Kidney Stone A disease characterized by small stones which are formed in the kidneys passed along the ureters to the bladder and expelled with the urine. Also called gravel.
Kings Evil Tubercular infection of the lymph glands in the throat. Also called scrofula. The name originated in the time of Edward the Confessor the king of England when people believed that the disease could be cured by the king’s touch.
La Grippe La Grippe also known as influenza. A flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. It spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. The virus continually changes; therefore vaccinations are only partially successful. The earlier signs of the flu are those similar for a cold: headache weakness achiness of muscles and bones alternating fever with chills and dry throat and cough. There May be fatigue nausea and vomiting. The flu makes the person more susceptible to other more serious conditions such as pneumonia. Influenza.
Leprosy Also known as Hansen’s disease; it is a chronic bacterial infection that damages the nerves (especially in the limbs and facial area) and can cause severe skin damage. If left untreated very serious complications occur including blindness and disfigurement. Leprosy is spread through droplets of nasal mucus only in the first stages of the disease. Leprosy is not highly contagious as most people believe.
Lesions This is a broad term which refers to any abnormality of structure or function in any body part. Examples include: wounds infections and tumors.
Lockjaw Tetanus a disease in which the jaws become firmly locked together. Also called trismus tetanus.
Lues An old term for syphilis which is an infectious venereal disease. Untreated it can ultimately lead to the degeneration of bones heart nerve tissue etc. In earlier centuries syphilis commonly reached the third stage which is rare today and caused brain damage hearing loss heart disease and/or blindness occur.
Lues Venera Veneral disease.
Lumbago Back pain. Painful inflammatory rheumatism of the muscles and tendons of the lumbar region which is the part of the back and sides between the lowest ribs and the pelvis.
Lung Fever Another term for pneumonia which is an inflamation in the lungs caused by different bacteria viruses and fungi. The tiny air sacs in the lung area become inflamed and fill with mucus and pus. It is unlikely to be contagious. Although symptoms can vary in intensity they usually include fever chills cough muscle aches fatigue sore throat enlarged lymph glands in the neck bluish nails pains in the chest and rapid difficult respiration. Typical contributing factors to pneumonia are the common cold influenza seizure or stroke aspiration under anesthesia alcoholism smoking kidney failure sickle cell disease malnutrition foreign bodies in the respiratory passages bacteria viruses chemical irritants and even allergies.
Lung Sickness An old term for pulmonary tuberculosis also called marasmus in the mid-nineteenth century Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is usually caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Infection May result from inhalation of minute droplets of infected sputum which are given off by coughing talking or sneezing. Tuberculosis most often affects the lungs and the plurae however bones and kidneys May also be affected and sometimes the intestines spleen and liver. In most cases the infection involves the top of the lungs where if the infected person is not immune the bacteria grow freely with in the body and spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. Eventually the patient develops immunity and the bacteria stop spreading. They become surrounded by scar tissue and do not cause further damage. At a later stage the protective layer of scar tissue May break down. It is well established that poor nitrition is one of the primary causes of TB in conjuntion with unsanitary living conditions loss of sleep overwork and a sedentary lifestyle which all contribute to a lowered immune system as well. SYMPTOMS: Initially resemble influenza which May include a cough. Mild symptoms include fatigue and appitite and weight loss. More severe symptoms include fever increased perspiration or severe night sweats chronic fatigue continued weight loss chest pain shortness of breath and infected urine. In advanced cases coughing up blood is initially seen.
Malaria Malaria is an acute and sometimes chronic infectious disease due to the presence of protozoan parasites within red blood cells. These parasites are discharged through salivary ducts when the mosquito bites a person. The causative organism is transmitted through bites of infected female mosquitoes of the genus anopheles. Also May be transmitted by blood transfusion. The incubation period averages 1 days to 30 days. Symptoms: Various derangements of the digestive and nervous systems; characterized by periodicity chills fever and sweats in the order mentioned having pathological manifestations of progressive anemia splenic enlargement and deposition in various organs of a melanin resulting from biological activity of the parasite.
Malignant fever Another term used in place of typhus which is an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Symptoms include headache arthralgia and myalgia chills high fever falling blood pressure stupor delirium rash that begins on chest and spreads to rest of trunk and extremities The early rash is faint and rose colored and fades with pressure. Later the lesions become dull red and do not fade. People with severe typhus May also develop petechiae. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever putrid fever ship fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever and camp fever.
Mania Insanity.
Marasmus Malnutrition emaciation usually occurring in infants and young children from insufficient nutrition.
Membranous Croup Membranous croup also called hoarseness is a rough croaking voice which usually results from interference with the vocal cords. Usually the hoarseness clears up in a few days if the voice is rested. Some causes include: overuse of voice anxiety hypothyroidism smoking alcohol cancer of the larynx mucus dripping on the larynx (as with nasal polyps hay fever sinusitis and deviated nasal septum)
Meningitis Meningitis is an infection of the three membranes the meninges that lie between the brain and the skull. The disease is contagious. It can be caused by poor nutrition and any number of viruses such as poliomyelitis and measles fungi including yeast or bacteria like meningococcus pneumococcus streptococcus and tuberculosis. It May result from severe infection of the nose and throat or spread through the bloodstream. It is more common in children than adults. Early symptoms are: sore throat red or purple skin rash and signs of a previous recent respiratory disorder. Other classic symptoms include stiff neck headache high fever chills nausea vomiting delirium and sensitivity to light. Change in temperament and sleepiness signal changes in the cerebral fluid and frequently precede coma and death. Also called brain fever.
Milk Sick poisoning resulting from the drinking of milk produced by a cow who had eaten a plant known as white snake root.
Mormal Mormal is an old term for gangrene. Gangrene is the death of tissue leading to blackness of the skin over the affected area. There are 2 types of gangrene: dry and wet. Dry gangrene results from low blood flow to a tissue; there is usually no bacterial infection and it does not spread to other tissues. Possible causes include: arteriosclerosis diabetes mellitus thrombosis embolism poor circulation and frostbite. Wet gangrene develops when a wound or dry gangrene become infected by bacteria. Careful hygiene is the best prevention for wet gangrene. Once diagnosed as wet gangrene amputation of the area and antibiotics May be required.
Neurasthenia Neurasthenia is a condition marked by fatigue worry inadequacy and lack of zest and often by headache undue sensitiveness to light and noise and by disturbances of digestion and circulation.
Neuralgia Neuralgia is due to irritation of a nerve from a variety of causes. Exposure to dampness and cold with resultant infection dental decay lack of proper diet eye strain and infections around the nose are some of the causes. Pain is usually felt in the part of the body supplied by the irritated nerve. There May or May not be accompanying muscle weakness paralysis or areas of decreased sensation on the skin. One side of the face May be affected or there May be pain in the temples and the neck.
Paristhmitis Paristhmitis also called Quinsy is a suppurative inflammation of the tonsils.
Petechial fever Another term used in place of typhus which is an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Symptoms include headache arthralgia and myalgia chills high fever falling blood pressure stupor delirium rash that begins on chest and spreads to rest of trunk and extremities The early rash is faint and rose colored and fades with pressure. Later the lesions become dull red and do not fade. People with severe typhus May also develop petechiae. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever putrid fever ship fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever and camp fever.
Phthisis An old term for pulmonary tuberculosis also called marasmus in the mid-nineteenth century Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is usually caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Infection May result from inhalation of minute droplets of infected sputum which are given off by coughing talking or sneezing. Tuberculosis most often affects the lungs and the plurae however bones and kidneys May also be affected and sometimes the intestines spleen and liver. In most cases the infection involves the top of the lungs where if the infected person is not immune the bacteria grow freely with in the body and spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. Eventually the patient develops immunity and the bacteria stop spreading. They become surrounded by scar tissue and do not cause further damage. At a later stage the protective layer of scar tissue May break down. It is well established that poor nitrition is one of the primary causes of TB in conjuntion with unsanitary living conditions loss of sleep overwork and a sedentary lifestyle which all contribute to a lowered immune system as well. SYMPTOMS: Initially resemble influenza which May include a cough. Mild symptoms include fatigue and appitite and weight loss. More severe symptoms include fever increased perspiration or severe night sweats chronic fatigue continued weight loss chest pain shortness of breath and infected urine. In advanced cases coughing up blood is initially seen.
Plague Bubonic plague has had a major impact on the history of the world. Caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and transmitted by fleas often found on rats bubonic plague has killed over 50 million people over the centuries. Burrowing rodent populations across the world keep the disease present in the world today. Outbreaks though often small still occur in many places. The use of antibiotics and increased scientific knowledge first gained in the 1890s have reduced the destruction of plague outbreaks. In Medieval times with the unknowing help of humans bubonic plague exploded into a pandemic. Known as the ³Black Death² it decimated Europe in 1350 killing 1/3 of the population. It disrupted government trade and commerce. It reshaped people¹s perspectives on life and Christianity and found expression in many works of art. Bubonic plague¹s influence and effects have shaped events of the past and part of our world today.
Pleurisy Inflammation of the pleura the lining of the chest cavity. Symptoms are chills fever dry cough and pain in the affected side (a stitch).
Pneumonia Pneumonia is an inflamation in the lungs caused by different bacteria viruses and fungi. The tiny air sacs in the lung area become inflamed and fill with mucus and pus. It is unlikely to be contagious. Although symptoms can vary in intensity they usually include fever chills cough muscle aches fatigue sore throat enlarged lymph glands in the neck bluish nails pains in the chest and rapid difficult respiration. Typical contributing factors to pneumonia are the common cold influenza seizure or stroke aspiration under anesthesia alcoholism smoking kidney failure sickle cell disease malnutrition foreign bodies in the respiratory passages bacteria viruses chemical irritants and even allergies.
Podagra Another term for gout which is the deposition of uric acid crystals in the joint(s) of the body. The crystals cause swelling redness pain and sometimes fever. The pain May be so severe that the person can not tolerate clothing touching the affected area. Uric acid is a by-product of certain foods especially foods containing purines. It is best to avoid purine-rich foods such as organ meats mushrooms legumes and sardines. 90% of gout patients are male.
Potts Disease Degeneration of the vertebrae.
Putrid Fever An old term for diptheria which is an acute bacterial disease that usually affects the tonsils throat nose or skin. Diphtheria is transmitted to others through close contact with discharge from an infected person’s nose throat skin eyes and lesions. There are two types of diphtheria. One type involves the nose and throat and the other involves the skin. Symptoms include sore throat low-grade fever and enlarged lymph nodes located in the neck. Skin lesions May be painful swollen and reddened. In earlier centuries when diphtheria went untreated serious complications such as paralysis heart failure and blood disorders resulted.
Putrid Sore Throat Ulceration of an acute form attacking the tonsils.
Pyrexia Dysentery describes a group of infections characterized by inflammation of the small and large intestine with diarrhea often containing blood. The two main types are amoebic dysentery of the tropics and bacillary dysentery which occurs throughout the world.
Quinsy A suppurative inflammation of the tonsils.
Remitting Fever An old term used to indicate the presence of malaria. Malaria is an acute and sometimes chronic infectious disease due to the presence of protozoan parasites within red blood cells. These parasites are discharged through salivary ducts when the mosquito bites a person. The causative organism is transmitted through bites of infected female mosquitoes of the genus anopheles. Also May be transmitted by blood transfusion. The incubation period averages 1 days to 30 days. Symptoms: Various derangements of the digestive and nervous systems; characterized by periodicity chills fever and sweats in the order mentioned having pathological manifestations of progressive anemia splenic enlargement and deposition in various organs of a melanin resulting from biological activity of the parasite.
Sanguinous Crust A scab.
Scarlatina A relative of scarlet fever scarletina is a rash caused by infection somewhere in the body usually the throat but often other places. Scarlet fever is the full blown syndrome of untreated Strep infection with a much worse rash.
Rheumatism Rheumatism refers to any painful state of the supporting structures of the body – its bones ligaments joints tendons or muscles.
Scrofula Primary tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands especially those in the neck. A disease of children and young adults. Also called king’s evil.
Septicemia Blood poisoning.
Shingles Shingles caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox affects the nerve endings in the skin. It usually occurs on the skin of the abdomen under the ribs leading toward the naval but can appear anywhere on the body. An attack of shingles is often preceded by three of four days of intense pain in the affected area. Then numerous and excruciatingly painful and itchy blisters develop normally lasting between seven and fourteen days. These blisters eventually form crusty scabs and drop off. After an attack of shingles the pain May continue even after the blisters have disappeared especially in the elderly. The pain can sometimes last for months or years. This post-herpetic syndrome can be even more painful than the original infection.
Ship Fever Another term used in place of typhus which is an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Symptoms include headache arthralgia and myalgia chills high fever falling blood pressure stupor delirium rash that begins on chest and spreads to rest of trunk and extremities The early rash is faint and rose colored and fades with pressure. Later the lesions become dull red and do not fade. People with severe typhus May also develop petechiae. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever putrid fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever petechial fever camp fever.
Softening of The Brain Cerebral hemorrhage or stroke.
Spotted Fever Typhus an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever ship fever putrid fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever petechial fever camp fever.
Strangery Rupture herniate.
Summer Complaint A common noncontagious diarrhea of young children occurring in summer or autumn. It was common among the poor and in hand-fed babies. Death frequently occurred in three to five days. Also called: infantum cholerum weaning brash water gripes choleric fever of children cholera morbus.
Suppuration The production of pus.
Tetanus An acute often fatal disease caused by a bacillus and characterized by rigidity and spasmodic contractions of the voluntary muscles. Also called lock jaw.
Thrush A disease characterized by whitish spots and ulcers on the membranes of the mouth tongue and fauces caused by a parasitic fungus. Also called aphthae sore mouth aphthous stomatitis.
Trismus nascentium or neonatorum A form of tetanus seen only in infants almost invariably in the first five days of life.
Typhoid Fever An infectious often-fatal disease usually occurring in the summer months–characterized by intestinal inflammation and ulceration. The name came from the disease’s similarity to typhus. Also called enteric fever.
Typhus Typhus is an acute infectious disease transmitted by lice and fleas. Symptoms include headache arthralgia and myalgia chills high fever falling blood pressure stupor delirium rash that begins on chest and spreads to rest of trunk and extremities The early rash is faint and rose colored and fades with pressure. Later the lesions become dull red and do not fade. People with severe typhus May also develop petechiae. Also called typhus fever malignant fever jail fever hospital fever ship fever putrid fever brain fever bilious fever spotted fever petechial fever camp fever.
Variola Another term for smallpox which is an acute highly infectious often lethal viral disease characterized by chills fever headache and eventual formation of widespread pus-filled blisters. The smallpox virus has been eradicated from the world’s population and currently exists in only two high-containment laboratories.
Venesection The ancient practice of bleeding which required a surgical incision in the patient to release what physician’s believed was contaminated blood.
Winter Fever An old term for pneumonia which is an inflamation in the lungs caused by different bacteria viruses and fungi. The tiny air sacs in the lung area become inflamed and fill with mucus and pus. It is unlikely to be contagious. Although symptoms can vary in intensity they usually include fever chills cough muscle aches fatigue sore throat enlarged lymph glands in the neck bluish nails pains in the chest and rapid difficult respiration. Typical contributing factors to pneumonia are the common cold influenza seizure or stroke aspiration under anesthesia alcoholism smoking kidney failure sickle cell disease malnutrition foreign bodies in the respiratory passages bacteria viruses chemical irritants and even allergies.
Yellow Fever Yellow fever is a viral disease transmitted to man by a specific type of mosquito Aedes aegypti. This mosquito type is commonly found in the tropical forests of South America and Africa. Both the Aedes mosquito and the yellow fever virus must be present together to spread the disease.
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