The table below defines the medical terms I came across when looking at death records and obituaries. Many of these terms are outdated and no longer in use.

Term Definition
Apoplexy Paralysis due to stroke.
Bright's Disease Chronic inflammatory disease of the kidneys.
Cholecystitis Inflammation of the gall bladder.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease A rare, fatal brain disorder, which causes a rapid, progressive dementia and associated neuromuscular disturbances. The disease is named after Drs. Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt and Alfons Jakob, who documented the first cases of this illness in the 1920's.
Dropsy Dropsy is an outmoded term for generalized edema (fluid collection in body tissues). In the past, many people were certified as dead "due to dropsy". Dropsy is not itself a disease, but merely a sign of malfunction in the body (especially congestive heart failure or kidney disease).
Fatty liver Cirrhosis of liver.
Felo de se A Latin phrase meaning "evildoer upon himself", or simply a suicide.
Huntington's Disease A genetic, progressive, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the gradual development of involuntary muscle movements affecting the hands, feet, face, and trunk and progressive deterioration of cognitive processes and memory (dementia).
Paralysis Stroke.
St. Vitus' Dance A nervous disorder closely associated with rheumatic fever, and characterized by rapid, jerky, involuntary movements of the body.
Stroke A stroke occurs when a blood vessel (artery) that supplies blood to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot. Within minutes, the nerve cells in that area of the brain become damaged and die. As a result, the part of the body controlled by the damaged section of the brain cannot function properly.
Go Back