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MEDICAL TERMS FOR GENEALOGISTS

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written by: Celia Langford Christensen and taken from her book,"How to Get More Done and Have More Fun With Your Family History".

Ague: malaria or fever/chills

Air-swellings: tympanites; air or gas in the intestines

Anchylosis: stiff joints

Anidrosis: too little perspiration

Anthrax: a carbuncle or boil which is larger and more painful than a boil.

Aperient: a laxative

Apoplexy: stroke, affliction, disability, handicap

Arachnitis: inflammation of the arachnoid and pia mater which are membranes in the brain.

Ascites: dropsy of the belly; a collection of water in the stomach.

Barber's Itch: ring-worm of the beard

Bilious Colera: cholera characterized by abnormal feces; liver condition.

Bilious Colic: tortuous pain in the belly.

Black Plague: bubonic plague; carried by infected rats.

Blood Poisoning: septicernia, usually caused by trauma, surgery, or staphyloccus.

Bloody Flux or Dysentery: dysentery; inflammation of the large bowels; known as colitis.

Brain Fever: encephalitis, meningitis.

Bright's Disease of the Kidneys: albumen in the urine, technically known as albuminuria, caused by inflammation or injury to the kidneys.

Bronchorrhea: a bronchial flu.

Brown Tail Rash: an irritating, itching rash on the skin caused by small shedded hairs of the gypsy moth (or its caterpillar), carried by the wind and lodging in pores of the skin.

Brain Fever: intense headache; fever, vertigo, intolerence to light and sound.

Bronze John: see yellow fever.

Canker: gangrenous or ulcerous sore, to infect with corruption or decay; also cancer.

Carbuncle: a painful localized bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that usually has several openings through which pus is discharged.

Catarrah: chincough, serious respiratory disease, rhinitis, sinusitis.

Cattle-Plague: a highly contagious disease affecting cattle.

Chiblains: a painful sore or swelling on the foot or hand caused by exposure to the cold.

Child-Bed Fever: puerperal fever; septicemia; blood poisoning during pregnancy.

Cholera Infantum: plague, acute gastroenteritis in infants occurring in summer and autumn and marked by severe cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting; caused by poor sanitation.

Clap: gonorrhea.

Consumption: tuberculosis of the lungs.

Costiveness: constipation.

Creeping Paralysis: syphilis; sexually transmitted disease or metal poisoning.

Crusted Tetter: impetigo.

Debility: failure to thrive, seen in infants or elderly.

Dentition: teeth; death could be from infantile convulsions or infected teeth and gums.

Devonshire Colic: see Painter's Colic.

Dropsy: anasarca or edema; a collection of water in a large cavity.

Dropsy of the Brain: chronic hydrocephalus; an abnormal increase of fluid in the brain.

Dry-Belly Ache: see Painter's Colic.

Egyptian Chlorosis: hookworm.

Eclampsis: convulsions, usually due to childbirth or uremia.

False Measles: see Rose Rash.

Felon in the Eye: a stye, inflammation of one or more sebaceous glands of the eyelid, folk medicine: rub on the gall of an eel.

Flatulent Colic: see Wind Colic.

Fits: convulsions.

French Pox: veneral disease, syphilis, gonorrhea.

Galloping Consumption: aggressive TB.

Glandular Fever: infectious mononucleosis, common, acute, infectious disease, with fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat.

Green Sickness: chlorosis; a green tinge to the skin of a young girl in puberty; an iron deficiency.

Grippe: sharp pains in bowels, influenza.

Hemorrhage: massive bleeding, any cause.

Indican in the Urine: poisonous material being thrown back into the system.

Idrosis: greatly increased perspiration.

Infantile Debility: see Marasmus.

Infantile Spinal Paralysis: polio

King's Evil: scrofula, or swelling of the neck glands; tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands.

La Grippe: a form of influenza.

Lead Palsy: a sequel to Painter's Colic; muscles of the forearm are palsied from lead in the body.

Lumbago: rheumatic pain in the back.

Lung Fever: pneumonia.

Malignant Fever: fever with hemorrhagic skin rash; meningoccal infections, malaria, typhoid.

Mania: manifestation of manic-depressive illness, characterized by profuse and rapidly changing ideas, insanity.

Marasmus: infantile debility; condition wherein a child is unable to absorb nutrition from food.

Milk Crust: small red, itchy pimples on the face or scalp of infants or children which bursts and exudes a sticky fluid forming a yellow crust.

Milk Leg: phlebitis or inflammation in the leg beginning two to seven weeks after giving birth.

Milk Sickness: also known as trembles; a disease contracted by eating a plant which grows in level, heavyly-timbered, wet oakland (mainly in the West), or by eating meat wherin the animal has grazed upon such plants; Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, general debility, peculiar odor to the breath.

Mother's Marks: dilation of minute bloodvessels, varying in size, the smallest being the "spider mark".

Mortification: complete death of a part of the body changing it to a black, stinking mass.

Nervous Prostration: severe or incapacitating emotional disorder, marked by depression.

Osmidrosis: perspiration with a peculiar smell.

Ozaena: chronic complaint, allergy, hay fever, colic-chronic intestinal pains and constipation caused by lead poisoning.

Painter's Colic: also known as Devonshire colic or dry-belly ache; a form of colic experienced with slow lead poisoning.

Palsy: paralysis to any body part.

Paresis: paralysis.

Pellagra: a disease caused by eating spoiled maize, symptoms begin with vomiting and diarrhea, followed by a swollen and sore tongue, and a red, ulcerated mouth, rash on the body, and body sores.

Pessary: a device worn in the vagina for birth control or to give support to a displaced uterus.

Phisis: medicine.

Phlebitis: tenderness or hardness of an infected vein; treatment with leeches or lotions.

Phthisis Pulmonakle: tuberculosis or consumption.

Piles: hemorrhoids.

Plague/Black Death: bubonic plague, a general term used for any contagious epidemic disease but especially the Black Death.

Pleurisy: inflammation and mucus in the lungs.

Podagra: gout, especially of the big toe.

Pott's Disease: partial destruction of the vertebral bones, usually caused by tuberculosis.

Pox: syphilis.

Puerperal Fever: illness resulting from infection of the endometrium following childbirth; also called childbed fever.

Purple Disease: pupura hemorrhagica; a rash of spots on the body, small round and bright red, which changes to a purple color or dark-red spots in irregular, livid patches.

Putrid Fever: see Typhus Fever.

Pyemia: a form of blood poisoning from pus in the blood carried to various parts of the body.

Quinsy: tonsillitis or tonsil abscess.

Rose-Rash: "false measles" or roseola.

Rheumatism: inflammation of the joints.

Saint Vitus's Dance: chorea; nervous disorder which creats involuntary muscular contractions.

Sciatica: painful condition in the hip and/or thigh.

Scrofula: see King's Evil.

Scrumpox: a pastular disease of the skin.

Self-Pollution: masturbation.

Ship Fever: see Typhus Fever.

Sloes: an acute, now rare disease characterized by trembling, vomiting pain that affects those who eat dairy products or meat from a cow that has fed on white snakeroot; see also, Milk Sickness.

Softening of the Brain: dementia; mental changes due to syphilis, stroke, etc.

Spotted Fever: cerebro-spinal meninggitis.

St. Anthony's Dance: involuntary movements, tremor, tic, chorea, disease causing involuntary jerky movements of face, limbs, or whole body; usually a complication of rheumatic fever.

St. Anthony's Fire: erysipelas; infectious disease with inflammation of the skin and fever.

Stone Pock: acne.

Struma: a noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland, visible as a swelling at the front of the neck; also called goiter or scrofula.

Summer Complaint of Infants: vomiting and diarrhea; cholera in infants.

Swamp Sickness: see milk sickness; an acute disease characterized by trembling, vomiting, and severe intestinal pain affecting those who eat dairy products or meat from a cow that has fed on white snakeroot.

Throat Distemper: tonsillitis, diphtheria.

Typhus Fever: also known as Putrid Fever or Ship Fever; contagious disease transmitted to man by the bite of fleas, lice, etc.

Uremia: blood in the urine.

Water-Brash: pyrosis; similar to heartburn; belching of a thin, watery fluid.

Wind-Colic: also known as interalgia or flatulent colic; distressing pain in the bowels.

Wool Sorter's Disease: see Anthrax.

Yellow Jack or Yellow Fever: also known as Bronze John; infectious tropical disease transmitted by a yellow fever mosquito.


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