Diseases A - J

Often in genealogy as you do your research you encounter an archaic medical term used for the cause of death, or perhaps in a journal or family correspondence. This list is intended to aid with interpreting those terms.

DiseaseDescription
AblepsyBlindness
AgueMalarial Fever
American plagueYellow fever
AnasarcaGeneralized massive edema
AphoniaLaryngitis
AphthaThe infant disease "thrush"
ApoplexyParalysis due to stroke
Asphycsia / AsphicsiaCyanotic and lack of oxygen
AtrophyWasting away or diminishing in size.
Bad BloodSyphilis
Bilious feverTyphoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis
BiliousnessJaundice associated with liver disease
Black plague / black deathBubonic plague
Black feverAcute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate
Black poxBlack Small pox
Black vomitVomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever
Blackwater feverDark urine associated with high temperature
Bladder in throatDiphtheria (Seen on death certificates)
Blood poisoningBacterial infection; septicemia
Bloody fluxBloody stools
Bloody sweatSweating sickness
Bone shaveSciatica
Brain feverMeningitis
BreakboneDengue fever
Bright's diseaseChronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
Bronze JohnYellow fever
BuleBoil, tumor or swelling
CachexyMalnutrition
CacogastricUpset stomach
CacospysyIrregular pulse
CaduceusSubject to falling sickness or epilepsy
Camp feverTyphus; aka Camp diarrhea
Canine madnessRabies, hydrophobia
CankerUlceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex
CatalepsySeizures / trances
CatarrhalNose and throat discharge from cold or allergy
CerebritisInflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
ChilblainSwelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold
Child bed feverInfection following birth of a child
Chin coughWhooping cough
ChlorosisIron deficiency anemia
CholeraAcute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
Cholera morbusCharacterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature. Appendicitis
CholecystitusInflammation of the gall bladder
CholelithiasisGall stones
ChoreaDisease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
Cold plagueAgue which is characterized by chills
ColicAn abdominal pain and cramping
Congestive chillsMalaria
ConsumptionTuberculosis
CongestionAny collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs
Congestive chillsMalaria with diarrhea
Congestive feverMalaria
CorruptionInfection
CoryzaA cold
CostivenessConstipation
Cramp colicAppendicitis
Crop sicknessOverextended stomach
CroupLaryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat
CyanosisDark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood
CynancheDiseases of throat
CystitisInflammation of the bladder
Day feverFever lasting one day; sweating sickness
DebilityLack of movement or staying in bed
DecrepitudeFeebleness due to old age
Delirium tremensHallucinations due to alcoholism
DengueInfectious fever endemic to East Africa
DentitionCutting of teeth
DeplumationTumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss
Diary feverA fever that lasts one day
DiptheriaContagious disease of the throat
DistemperUsually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia
Dock feverYellow fever
DropsyEdema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease
Dropsy of the BrainEncephalitis
Dry BellyacheLead poisoning
DyscrasyAn abnormal body condition
DysenteryInflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood
DysorexyReduced appetite
DyspepsiaIndigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms
DysuryDifficulty in urination
EclampsySymptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor
EcstasyA form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason
EdemaNephrosis; swelling of tissues
Edema of lungsCongestive heart failure, a form of dropsy
Eel thingErysipelas
ElephantiasisA form of leprosy
EncephalitisSwelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness
Enteric feverTyphoid fever
EnterocolitisInflammation of the intestines
EnteritisInflations of the bowels
EpitaxisNose bleed
ErysipelasContagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions
Extravasted bloodRupture of a blood vessel
Falling sicknessEpilepsy
Fatty LiverCirrhosis of liver
FitsSudden attack or seizure of muscle activity
FluxAn excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea
Flux of humourCirculation
French poxSyphilis
GatheringA collection of pus
Glandular feverMononucleosis
Great poxSyphilis
Green fever/sicknessAnemia
Grippe or gripInfluenza like symptoms
Grocer's itchSkin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
Heart sicknessCondition caused by loss of salt from body
Heat strokeBody temperature elevates and body does not perspire
Hectical complaintRecurrent fever
HematemesisVomiting blood
HematuriaBloody urine
HemiplegyParalysis of one side of body
Hip goutOsteomylitis
HorrorsDelirium tremens
HydrocephalusEnlarged head, water on the brain
HydropericardiumHeart dropsy
HydrophobiaRabies
HydrothroaxDropsy in chest
HypertrophicEnlargement of organ, like the heart
ImpetigoContagious skin disease characterized by pustules
InanitionPhysical condition resulting from lack of food
Infantile paralysisPolio
Intestinal colicAbdominal pain due to improper diet
Jail feverTyphus
JaundiceCondition caused by blockage of intestines
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