Medical Terminology beginning with the letter P

Palsy – Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles; loss of muscle control.
Paristhmitis – see quinsy.
Paroxysm – Convulsion.
Pemphigus – Skin disease of watery blisters.
Pericarditis – Inflammation of heart.
Peripneumonia – Inflammation of lungs.
Peritonotis – Inflammation of abdominal area.
Petechial Fever – Fever characterized by spotting of the skin. see typhus.
Phthiriasis – Lice infestation.
Phthisis – Chronic wasting away due to ,or a name for, tuberculosis or consumption. see consumption.
Plague – An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate.
Pleurisy – Inflammation of the pleura, the membranous sac lining the chest cavity, with or without fluid collected in the pleural cavity. Symptoms are chills, fever, dry cough, and pain in the affected side (a stitch).
Pneumonia – Inflammation of the lungs with congestion or consolidation, caused by viruses, bacteria, or physical and chemical agents.
Podagra – Gout.
Poliomyelitis – Polio.
Potter’s asthma – Fibroid pthisis.
Pott’s disease – Tuberculosis of spine.
Puerperal exhaustion – Death due to child birth.
Puerperal fever – Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant; septic poisoning associated with child birth.
Puking fever – Milk sickness.
Pus – A yellow-white, more or less viscid substance found in abscesses and sores, consisting of a liquid plasma in which white blood cells are formed and suspended by the process of inflammation.
Putrid fever – Diphtheria; typhus. see typhus.
Putrid sore throat – Ulceration of an acute form, attacking the tonsils and rapidly running into sloughing of the fauces (the cavity at the back of the mouth, leading to the pharynx).
Pyrexia – see dysentry.

2 Responses to Medical Terminology beginning with the letter P

  1. Kenneth Jones says:

    My great-grandfather died in July of 1881 in Bristol, England, at the age of 47. The cause of death as reported on his death certificate by
    S. Morgan M. D. was “Chronic Phthisis Abdominalis, 2 years”.
    This puzzles me on two counts. First, Phthisis is defined as a chronic disease, so the use of chronic in the cause is redundant and not what one would expect from a doctor, who would be aware of the meaning of the word. Secondly, Phthisis is described as a synonym for tuberculosis or consumption. Where does the abdomen fit into this definition?
    Was there another definition of Phthisis in 1881?

    • genealogy-quest says:

      We tend to use tuberculosis as a shorthand for pulmonary tuberculosis but we shouldn’t forget that the tubercle bacillus can infect other organs including those of the gastrointestinal tract. Also, while tuberculosis is generally a chronic disease it does have an acute form. The picture thus painted by Dr. Morgan is not a pretty one, your great-grandfather suffered from abdominal tuberculosis for 2 years before succumbing to the disease.

Leave a Reply