Diseases & Other Ailments

Diseases have changed over the years, at least some of the names have?

These were compiled from various Rootsweb mail lists, my own research, etc.

Bettie Wood

Where’d They Go?


Ablepsy – Blindness

American Plague – Yellow fever

Aphonia – Laryngitis

Apoplexy – Paralysis due to stroke

Ascites – Cancer of the ovaries

Bad Blood – Syphilis

Bilious Fever – Over production of bile by the liver; Characterized by indigestion, nausea, dullness, dizziness, or other disorders

Black Plague/Black 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

Bone Shave – Sciatica

Brain Fever – Meningitis

Bright’s Disease – Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys

Bronchitis – Inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, characterized by a cough

Bronze John – Yellow fever

Bule – Boil, tumor or swelling

Camp fever – Typhus, Camp diarrhea

Catalepsy – Seizures/Trances

Cerebritis – Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning

Child Bed Fever – Infection following birth of a child

Chin Cough – Whooping cough

Cholera – Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing

Chorea – Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing

Cold Plague – Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing

Colic – An abdominal pain and cramping

Congestion – Too much blood gathering in one part of the body

Congestive Chills – Malaria

Congestive Fever – Malaria Consumption

Consumption – Tuberculosis

Convulsions – Spasms; Involuntary contracting & relaxing of the muscles

Corruption – Infection

Cramp Colic – Appendicitis

Crop Sickness – Overextended stomach

Croup – Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat

Day Fever – Fever lasting one day, sweating sickness

Debility – Lack of movement or staying in bed

Decrepitude – Feebleness due to old age

Dentition – Teething

Diphtheria – 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

Dysentery – Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood

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

Elephantiasis – A form of leprosy

Encephalitis – Swelling of brain, aka sleeping sickness

Enteric Fever – Typhoid fever

Enteritis – An inflammation of the small or large intestine characterized by diarrhea, cramps, loss of appetite, and loss of weight; caused by food poisoning, typhoid, or dysentery

Epilepsy – A chronic nervous disease whose attacks cause convulsions & sometimes unconsciousness

Falling Sickness – Epilepsy

Fits – Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity

Flux – An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea

French Pox – Syphilis

Gathering – A collection of pus

Gravel – A small hard substance formed in the bladder & kidneys

Great pox – Syphilis

Green Fever – Anemia

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

Hepatitis – An inflammation of the liver caused by a virus or poor sanitation

Hives – Characterized by itchy (& red patches) skin

Horrors – Delirium tremens

Hydrocephalus – Enlarged head, water on the brain

Hydrophobia – Rabies

Hydrothorax – Dropsy in chest

Hypertrophic – Enlargement of organ, like the heart

Impetigo – Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules

Inanition – Weakness from a lack of food

Infantile Paralysis – Polio

Jail Fever – Typhus

Jaundice – Condition caused by blockage of intestines; causes yellowness of the skin, eyes, & body fluids, & disturbed vision

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

Lumbago – Back pain

Lung Fever – Pneumonia

Lung Sickness – Tuberculosis

Malaria – Characterized by periodic chills followed by fever & sweating

Malignant Sore Throat/Membranous Croup – Diphtheria

Mania – Insanity

Measles – An infectious disease characterized by a bad cold, fever, & a breaking out of small red spots on the skin

Meningitis – Inflation of brain or spinal cord

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

Mortification – Gangrene of necrotic tissue

Necrosis – Mortification of bones or tissue

Nephrosis – Kidney degeneration

Nephritis – Inflammation of kidneys

Palsy – Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles

Paroxysm – Convulsion

Pemphigus – Skin disease of watery blisters

Pericarditis – Inflammation of heart

Peritonitis – Inflammation of abdominal area

Phthiriasis – Lice infestation

Plague – An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate

Pleurisy – Any pain in the chest area with each breath

Pneumonia – Sickness resulting in the inflammation of the lungs

Poliomyelitis – PolioPotter’s asthma – Fibroid pthisis

Pott’s Disease – Tuberculosis of spine

Puerperal Fever – Fever related to childbirth

Puking Fever – Milk sickness

Putrid Fever – Diphtheria

Quinsy – Tonsillitis

Remittent Fever – Fever that lessens at intervals

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

Rubeola – German measles

Scarlatina – Scarlet fever

Scarlet Fever – A disease characterized by red rash

Scarlet Rash – Roseola

Sciatica – Rheumatism in the hips

Screws – Rheumatism

Scrofula – Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Progresses slowly with abscesses and pistulas develop. Young person’s disease.

Scurvy – Lack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin

Septicemia – Blood poisoning

Shakes – Delirium tremors

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

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 – 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

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

Syphilis – A contagious venereal disease

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

Trench Mouth – Painful ulcers found along gum line, Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene

Tussis Convulsiva – Whooping cough

Typhoid – Fever with intestinal inflammation, caused by a germ taken into the body with food or drink

Typhus – Infectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness

Variola – Smallpox

Viper’s Dance – St. Vitus Dance

Water on Brain – Enlarged head

White Swelling – Tuberculosis of the bone

Whooping Cough – Coughing fits that end with a loud, gasping sound

Winter Fever – Pneumonia

Womb Fever – Infection of the uterus

Worm – A disease caused by worms in the body

Worm Fit – Convulsions associated with teething, worms elevated temperature or diarrhea

Yellowjacket – Yellow fever