Diseases in the Olden Days
Some of the most damaging and horrific diseases that plagued people in the olden days are now thankfully eradicated. Many are still around today, however simple medicines can help cure a simple ailment that would of killed a person centuries ago. If you have every looked into genealogy you probably have noticed some interesting causes of death on old death certificates. This list will attempt to explain some of these strange and disturbed ailments along with others that we still deal with today. Just asking your grandparents, you can get an idea of how medicine has changed society in recent years. However, this isn't to say that old fashioned medical practices aren't used in some form today. Weird treatments like blood letting are still considered for high blood pressure today.
ABLEPSY: Going Blind
ABSCESS: A collection of pus in tissues, organs, or confined body spaces, caused by bacteria.
ACUTE MANIA: The act of going insane.
ADDISON'S DISEASE: Severe weakness of the body, low blood pressure, this disease also gives the body a bronzed color because of a decrease of cortisol .
AFRICAN CONSUMPTION: Now known as Tuberculosis.
AGUE: Recurring fever & chills caused by a malarial infection.
AMERICAN PLAGUE: Infectious disease caused by an RNA virus transmitted by mosquitoes.
ANASARCA: Accumulation of fluid in various tissues, generalized edema.
ANGINA PECTORIS: Severe chest with the feeling of suffocation
APHTHA: Blisters that form in the mouth or along the gastrointestinal tract. APOPLEXY: A loss of bodily functions due to a stroke.
ASPHYXIA: Lack of Oxygen.
ATROPHY: A wasting away of muscle, body parts or organs due to improper nutrition or damage to the nerves.
BILIOUSNESS: Suffering from complications having to do with an excess secretion of bile.
BLACK FEVER: Infection that caused a high temperature and large deep red lesions on the skin.
BLACK JAUNDICE: Also known as Wiel's Disease; A bacterial infection of the liver.
BLACK LUNG: An inflammation of the lungs from the constant in haling of coal dust.
BLACK PLAGUE: A type of bubonic plague caused by a bacterial infection. It caused swelling and sores all over the body that turned into huge flesh eating wounds.
BLACK VOMIT: The vomiting of black blood caused from ulcers.
BLACKWATER FEVER: This deadly form of malaria caused dark urine as a result of extremely high body temperature.
BLOOD POISONING: An infection in the blood stream also known as Septicemia.
BLOODY FLUX: A disease in which discharge from the bowels is mixed with blood.
BONE SHAVE: Pain at points of the sciatic nerve also known as Sciatica.
BRIGHT'S DISEASE: A chronic inflammatory disease that affects the kidneys.
BRUCELLOSIS: An infectious disease transmitted by contact with animals. Causes fevers and head pain.
BULE: Another name for a Boil or Tumor.
CACHEXY: Being in ill health along with emaciation, caused by cancer or chronic disease.
CACOGASTRIC: Having an upset stomach
CANINE MADNESS: Another term for Rabies.
CANKER: Ulcerous sore of the mouth or lips.
CATALEPSY: Falling into seizures or trances.
CATARRHAL: Nose and throat secretions due to inflammation of the mucous membrane.
CEREBRITIS: Also known as lead poisoning.
CHILBLAIN: Prolong exposure to cold resulting in the swelling of extremities.
CHIN COUGH: Also known as Whooping cough.
CHLOROSIS: Anemia caused by iron deficiency, the disease causes a greenish yellow discoloration.
CHOLECYSTITUS: An inflammation of the gall bladder.
CHOLELITHIASIS: The formation of gallstones.
CHOLERA: Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
CHOLERA MORBUS: A gastroenteritis disease marked by cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
CHOREA: A disease of the nervous system that causes involuntary jerky movements.
COLIC: A pain the affecting the abdomen or bowels.
CONGESTIVE FEVER: Also known as Malaria.
CORYZA: A common cold.
COSTIVENESS: Being constipated.
CROUP: A condition affecting the larynx or trachea also known as strep.
CYANOSIS: A blueness of the skin caused by lack of oxygen in blood.
CYSTITIS: A disease that causes an inflammation of the bladder.
DAY FEVER: A fever that lasts just a day and its symptoms include heavy sweating.
DEBILITY: A weakened state or lack of movement.
DECREPITUDE: Feebleness from old age.
DELIRIUM TREMENS: Hallucinations cause by the ingestion of too much alcohol.
DENGUE: A fever characterized by sever joint and muscle pain.
DENTITION: The cutting of new teeth, also known as teething.
DEPLUMATION: A tumor of the eyelids that causes hair loss.
DIPTHERIA: An infectious disease of the throat that causes difficulty in breathing, fever and weakness.
DRY BELLYACHE: Caused by lead poisoning.
DYSENTERY: Inflammation of the bowels that can lead to hemorrhaging.
DYSPEPSIA: Difficult digestion also known as indigestion.
DYSURY: Difficulty in passing urine.
ECLAMPSY: Toxemia of pregnancy resulting in hypertension and convulsions.
EXTASY: A trance or loss of all self-control.
EDEMA: Fluid in the cells and tissue causing swelling.
EEL THING: Infectious disease that causes inflammation of the skin or throat.
ELEPHANTIASIS: Transmitted by mosquitoes, this disease causes lymphatic obstruction causing enlargement of body parts.
ENCEPHALITIS: Causes apathy and excessive sleepiness.
ENTERITIS: An intestinal disease characterized by inflammation.
ERYSIPELAS: A red inflammation of the skin caused by infections disease.
EXTRAVASTED BLOOD: Characterized by the bursting of a blood vessel.
FITS: Sudden and uncontrollable body spasms.
FLUX: Excessive hemorrhaging like flow of fluid.
FRENCH POX: Ulcerous skin sores and infection that leads to slight paralysis.
GLANDULAR FEVER: Having abnormally large number of leukocytes in the blood, symptoms include fever and swollen lymph nodes.
GOUT: an extreme inflammation of any extremity.
GREEN FEVER / SICKNESS: Caused by a blood deficiency, causes weakness and breathlessness. Also known as Anemia.
GRIPPE/GRIP: Causes flu like symptoms.
GROCER'S ITCH: A disease of the epidermis caused by flour or sugar mites.
HALLUCINATION: An out of mind experience of something that does not truly exist.
HEAT STROKE: Impairment of the temperature regulation abilities of the body. Causes severe headaches, fevers, and in some cases even coma.
HECTICAL COMPLAINT: A fever that lasts for long period of time and is reoccurring.
HEMATEMESIS: The presence of blood in vomit.
HEMATURIA: Experiencing blood in the urine.
HEMIPLEGIA: Paralysis that affects only a single side of the body.
HYDROCEPHALUS: Excess fluids build up on the brain, causing enlargement of the head.
HYDROPHOBIA: An aversion to swallowing liquids caused from rabies in humans.
HYPERTROPHIC: Enlargement of any organ.
IMPETIGO: A skin disease contagious especially in children; causes skin rashes on the face.
INANITION: Lack of nourishment also known as starvation.
JAIL FEVER: Transmitted by fleas and lice, causes headaches and red spots on the body, also known as typhus.
JAUNDICE: A yellowing of the skin caused by intestinal blockage.
KING'S EVIL: Tuberculosis of the lymph nodes.
KRUCHHUSTEN: Respiratory disease resulting in convulsive coughing and whooping.
LOCKJAW: A disease that causes the muscles of the neck and jaw to clamp shut.
LUMBAGO: Intense pain of the back.
MARASMUS: Wasting away from malnutrition.
MENINGITIS: High fever, headaches and stiffness caused by bacterial infection.
METRITIS: Inflammation of uterus.
MILK FEVER: A disease caused by drinking bad milk, symptoms are high fever.
MILK LEG: Inflammation of a vein in the legs, causes severe pain, swelling and skin discoloration.
MORPHEW: Body blisters caused by scurvy.
MORTIFICATION: A gangrene of body tissue caused by infection.
MYELITIS: A inflammation of bone marrow or spinal cord.
MYOCARDITIS: Heart inflammation.
NECROSIS: State of death known as mortification.
NEPHROSIS: A degeneration of the kidneys.
NERVOUS PROSTRATION: Exhaustion from inability to stop or control all physical and mental acts.
NEURALGIA: A form of a headache.
PALSY: Uncontrolled movement of any muscle in the body.
PAROXYSM: A spasm or convulsion.
PEMPHIGUS: Watery blisters caused by a skin disease.
PETECHIAL FEVER: Skin spots caused by high fever.
PHTHIRIASIS: An infestation of lice on the body.
PLAGUE: Any highly infectious and contagious disease with a high mortality rate.
PLEURISY: Chest pain with every breath.
POLIOMYELITIS: Inflammation of the brain stem, spinal cord and motor neurons resulting in paralysis and atrophy.
PROTEIN DISEASE: Kidney disease that causes edema and hypertension.
RHEUMATISM: Pain in any joints on the body.
RICKETS: Softening of the bones caused by insufficient vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium.
ROSE COLD: Allergy symptoms.
RUBEOLA: Causes fever, catarrhal symptoms and red spots on the body, also known as measles.
SCARLET FEVER: A disease that causes elevated body temperature and a red rash.
SCIATICA: Painful hip disorder.
SCIRRHUS: A hard cancerous tumor.
SCOTOMY: Dimness of sight along with dizziness.
SCRIVENER'S PALSY: Wrist and hand cramps.
SCROFULA: Tuberculosis of neck glands.
SCURVY: Weakness, and bleeding gums caused by lack of vitamin C.
SEPTICEMIA: A poisonous viral infection of the blood.
SHINGLES: A painful viral disease that causes weakness and skin blisters.
SMALL POX: Contagious disease that left permanent skin scars, wiped out by world vaccination.
SOFTENING OF BRAIN: Softening of the tissues around the brain as a result of stroke.
SPINA BIFIDA: A defect in the spine that causes neurological impairment.
SPRUE TROPICAL: Intestinal diseases and sore throat.
ST. ANTHONY'S FIRE: A poisoning from a fungus found on rye grass; symptoms included painful burning sensation in the extremities.
ST. VITAS DANCE: Non-stop jerking movements performed involuntary.
STOMATITIS: Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth.
SUNSTROKE: A disease caused by over exposure to the suns rays or heat, can result in convulsions, coma or death.
SWAMP SICKNESS: Any sickness carried by mosquitoes.
TETANUS: Often fatal disease caused by bacteria that enters the body through wounds, can cause lung paralysis and body spasms.
THROMBOSIS: A Blood clot that is inside a blood vessel.
THRUSH: A disease that children get that is characterized by spotting around the mouth, lips and throat.
TRENCH MOUTH: Painful mouth ulcers caused by poor nutrition and hygiene.
TYPHUS: Transmitted by fleas and lice, the disease causes headaches and reddish lesions.
VENESECTION: The opening of a vein for bloodletting.
WHITE SWELLING: Bone Tuberculosis.
WINTER FEVER: Lung disease caused by strep bacteria, symptoms include cough, fever and trouble breathing.
WOMB FEVER: Any infection of the uterus.
WORM FIT: Spasms associated with cutting teeth or worms. Causes high temperature and sometimes diarrhea
Disclaimer: I do not have any type of medical training so I apologize for any improper use of medical terms however all definitions have been fully researched.
Research collected (in part) by UIB.es