Can You Match the Disease to Its Old-Fashioned Name?

Lauren Lubas

Image: Steve Debenport / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Over the years, there have been tons of name changes, and that's especially true for medical terms and equipment. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, as times change, we realize that certain names are a little inappropriate. Secondly, as we learn more about what causes diseases, we rename them to ensure they are clearly labeled. Finally, there are just some names that don't make any sense when compared to the actual ailment (everyone knows of someone who contracted winter fever in the summer, after all). Today, we understand a little more about these diseases, allowing us to name them appropriately based on what causes them, their symptoms and how to cure them.

If you love learning about what things were once called, this quiz is going to brighten your day. We've found 35 diseases that were once known as something else ... back before we really knew what the disease was and what was causing it (or making it spread). This quiz is all about the old-timey names we gave diseases and how those names changed. If you're up for the challenge, see how many of these diseases you can match to their old-fashioned names. 

If you were blind, you were known to be suffering from what?

We know much more about blindness now than we did 100 years ago, but it wasn't that long ago that people referred to blindness as Ablepsy. We are thankful that this outdated term is no longer around.

When someone suffered from barrel fever, what were they suffering from?

While alcoholism was only recently identified as a disease, it has always been understood as an affliction or a habit. If someone drank excessively, they were known to have barrel fever.

When your sex drive faltered, you were diagnosed as what?

If you're wondering why some people like to tell women (and men) that they're "cold" if they don't put out, it does somewhat derive from this term. When people had no interest in sexual activity, they were known as frigid.

Do you know the old-fashioned term for epilepsy?

While many people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed (before we understood seizures), later on, the disease was known as falling sickness. There wasn't a whole lot of medicine for it at the time, but it was good that it was finally recognized as a disease.

Those who were diagnosed with congestive fever had what disease?

Malaria is very rare these days, and mosquitoes transmit it. It used to be rather common in subtropical regions of the world, and it does require a diagnosis before you can be treated.

What was the term for syphilis before it was called syphilis?

The French pox was just syphilis. While we have a cure for syphilis these days, it ended up hurting a lot of people. While most think that syphilis is just a sexually transmitted disease, a developing fetus can also contract the disease.

Having tonsillitis is terrible, but do you know what it used to be called?

For those of you who've had your tonsils removed, you know that tonsillitis is no joke. Most of the time, tonsillitis is caused by infections (whether viral or bacterial). If it cannot be remedied with medication, a tonsillectomy is usually ordered.

Jaundice is pretty normal in babies. Do you know the old-fashioned name for it?

For new parents, a bout of jaundice can be terrifying. However, it's nothing a little sunshine (or ultraviolet light) can't help. You can spot jaundice from a yellowing of the skin and redness around the eyes.

Which disease used to be known as breakbone?

Many people have never heard of dengue fever, and that's because it is not very common ... even where it spreads the most: the tropics. It's another disease that is spread by mosquito bites.

Can you name the disease that was once known as black dog?

While we know volumes more about depression than we did even 30 years ago, this disease was once thought to be simply a stage that someone was going through. It was referred to as the black dog.

This disease used to be known as mad cow disease. Do you know what it's called now?

It wasn't long ago that Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was known as mad cow disease. As a matter of fact, just a decade ago people were still using the term to describe tainted beef that affected people's brains.

When you had anemia, it was called what?

While anemia can make you look pale or discolored, it doesn't necessarily turn you green. However, it was once called the green disease or green fever ... That was before we understood that it was simply an iron deficiency in the blood.

What's the disease that was once known as ship fever?

Those who contract typhus probably think it is the flu as most of the symptoms are the same. After about a week after exposure, the patient usually sees signs of a rash, fever and headache.

Parkinson's disease was once known as what?

Parkinson's disease is a disease that generally comes with age (but there are cases with younger patients being diagnosed). It involves involuntary shaking and the loss of motor skills, which is why it was once called the shakes.

Do you know what ailment was once known as winter fever?

Pneumonia can be a deadly disease, and if you don't get it treated right away, your lungs can suffer greatly. It was once called winter fever because many cases of pneumonia were documented in the colder months.

Can you guess which one of these was another name for a stroke?

Strokes are generally caused when there is blocked blood flow to the brain. The majority of strokes cause permanent damage, and some can cause language and verbal disorders due to aphasia.

Yellow fever was once known as what?

It's not hard to believe that mosquitoes are the root of quite a few medical ailments. Yellow fever is one of those ailments. This blood disease results in jaundice, headache and fever.

What is an old-fashioned term for a sudden muscular attack or a seizure?

If someone was having a seizure, you'd say that they were having a fit.

This disease is now known as sepsis or septicemia. Do you know what it used to be called?

It's shocking how many people died of blood poisoning just 100 years ago. However, even though we know what sepsis is, there are still quite a few deaths from it every year, as it's difficult to cure.

If you had arthritis or gout, the swelling and pain that this caused was called something else. Do you know what it was?

There are many inflammatory diseases that cause quite a bit of pain. If you went to the doctor with this kind of inflammatory pain, they would tell you that you have chalkstones, which doesn't seem very helpful.

100 years ago, tuberculosis was known as what?

Tuberculosis is a lung disease that spreads through coughing and sneezing. It has the potential to be very serious. Though it's pretty rare these days, TB tests are still mandatory for certain medical professions and children who have to go to school.

Having an emotional breakdown was once known as what?

These days, people snapping in public is pretty commonplace. We can see viral videos all the time about a woman who just couldn't handle the fact that Starbucks messed up her drink or something along those lines. Back in the day, this would be called a domestic malady.

Those who were manic depressive were once referred to as what?

As we learn more and more about the psychological effects of manic depressive disorder, we are finding new ways to describe it. However, those who had mood swings in the past were simply referred to as having double-personality disorder.

The swine flu is now called what?

While swine flu was the commonplace name for H1N1, it's now referred to by its scientific name. This flu strain is intense and can even be fatal in young children and elderly adults.

While many know this disease as leprosy, it goes by a different name now. Do you know it?

Hansen's disease is no joke. It's a highly infectious disease that causes nerve damage as well as skin lesions. It's airborne, so it's important to realize that it doesn't just spread by touching.

If you had back pain, what was it called?

No one likes back pain, and with the amount of time we spend looking down at our phones or leaning into our computers, back specialists are seeing more and more patients. While they can pinpoint the areas of the back being affected, before doctors could do so, back pain was known as lumbago.

Those who suffered from severe depression were diagnosed with what ailment?

Melancholia was not well understood. Even twenty years ago, severe depression simply meant you were sad all the time. However, studies have shown that chemical imbalances, as well as various environmental changes, can lead to severe depression.

What did they used to call gangrene?

When you step on a rusty nail or get an injury with a dirty object, it's important to seek professional help. If you happen to get gangrene, you risk amputation and even death, so getting checked out right away is essential.

This disease is now known as impetigo. Do you know what it used to be called?

Impetigo looks very much like cold sores or herpes. It's very common in children because it is very contagious. It looks like blisters or red sores on the mouth. It will generally clear up quickly with a doctor's help.

Can you name the disease that is now referred to as chorea?

Chorea is the spasms that come with certain neurological disorders. The jerking movements in the hands and feet made it look like patients were almost dancing, which is why it was called St. Vitus' dance.

Which life event was once referred to as the change of life?

The change of life also refers to puberty, but it's mostly associated with menopause. Menopause changes nearly everything in a woman. From her mannerisms to her ability to withstand temperature changes, a woman's body goes through a lot during the change of life.

If you had bone shave, what did you really have?

Any sciatic nerve pain can feel unbearable to the sufferer. It's a pain that can radiate from one end of your body to the other without relenting. Giving it a name like bone shave was pretty appropriate.

What was an upset stomach once called?

There are a dozen ways to tell someone you have an upset stomach, but we bet you never told anyone that you're suffering from cacogastric symptoms. This term hasn't been used in some time, and we can see why.

If you were diagnosed with cramp colic, what did you have?

While appendicitis is still around, many people used to call it cramp colic. This makes sense, as it creates some pretty intense cramps in your side. If you experience pain in your appendix, be sure to have a doctor check it out.

Lead poisoning was once referred to as what?

There was a time (and it wasn't very long ago) that lead was used for pretty much everything ... including making paint. Some homes still have lead paint on their walls, but it is only dangerous if you plan on stripping it.

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