Old Disease Names & Their Modern Definitions

Acute Mania - severe insanity

Addison's Disease - a destructive disease marked by weakness, loss of weight, low blood pressure, gastrointestinal disturbances, and brownish pigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes.

Aphonia - laryngitis

Apoplexy - stroke

Auge - used to define the recurring fever & chills of malarial infection

Biliousness - jaundice or other symptoms associated with liver disease

Black Jaundice (Wiel's Disease) - Black jaundice is a common term for Wiel's Disease. It is quite common in northeast England near mines, farms and sewage and floats about in water. It is caused by a microorganism and thus is a bacterial infection (of the liver) and not a virus, as in hepatitis. It is carried by rats and secreted in their urine. It is usually not fatal, in present time, to humans. It is; however, rapidly fatal to dogs and cats, who can eventually gain a resistance, but either way can pass it on.

Bright's Disease - Bright's Disease is a catchall for kidney diseases/disorders

Camp Fever - typhus

Canine Madness - hydrophobia

Carditis - inflammation of the heart wall

Catarrh - inflammation of mucous membrane

Chlorosis - iron deficiency anemia

Chorea (St. Vitus' Dance) - nervous disorder

Commotion - Concussion

Consumption - tuberculosis

Corruption - infection

Coryza - a cold

Costiveness - constipation

Cramp Colic - appendicitis

Croup - spasmodic laryngitis esp. of infants, marked by episodes of difficult breathing and hoarse metallic cough

Death from "teething" - tooth infections with inflammation and cellulites were clearly important causes of illness and death before there was adequate dentistry.

Domestic Illness - polite way of saying mental breakdown, depression, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or the after effects of a stroke or any illness that kept a person housebound and probably in need of nursing support.

Dropsy - edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease. Dropsy would be called congestive heart failure today. It is an accumulation of fluid around the heart, for a variety of complex reasons, and one treatment is administration of digitalis (foxglove leaves).

Dyspepsia - acid indigestion

Extravastaed blood - rupture of a blood vessel

Falling Sickness - epilepsy

Flux of Humour - circulation

French Pox - venereal disease

Gout - any inflammation, not just in a joint or extremity, caused by the formation of crystals of oxalic acid when it accumulates in the body. It most often occurs in joints where circulation is poor, and can even cause gallstones or kidney stones. Gout is a disease caused by a buildup of urate or uric acid in the body, which crystallizes out in areas without much rapid blood flow and can cause damage when, for example a toe is stubbed.

Green Sickness - anemia

Hip Gout - osteomylitis

Jail Fever - typhus

King's Evil (Scrofula) - tubercular infection of the throat lymph glands

La Grippe - flu

Lues - syphilis

Lues Venera - venereal disease

Lumbago - back pain

Lung Fever - pneumonia

Lung Sickness - tuberculosis

Mania - insanity

Marasmus - progressive emaciation

Membranous Croup - hoarse cough

Milk Leg - a painful swelling of the leg beginning at the ankle and ascending, or at the groin and extending down the thigh. Its usual cause is infection after labor.

Mortification - infection

Neurasthenia - neurotic condition

Nostalgia - homesickness

Pott's Disease - tuberculosis of the spine with destruction of the bone resulting in curvature of the spine

Protein Disease - a once relatively common childhood kidney disease that causes the kidney to leak protein. This is a secondary allergic reaction to certain kinds of strep infections.

Putrid Fever - diphtheria

Quinsy - tonsillitis

Remitting Fever - malaria

Sanguineous Crust - scab

Screws - rheumatism

Scrofula - see King's Evil

Septicemia - blood poisoning

Ship's Fever - typhus

Strangery - rupture

Summer Complaint - dysentery or baby diarrhea caused by spoiled milk

Venesection (Bleeding Venesection) - bleeding

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