Acute vs Chronic Disease

Acute Vs. Chronic Disease

Such medical conditions which occur suddenly and last for the brief period in the body, are said to be the acute disease. But the medical condition where the disease occurs slowly and last for a long time or sometimes for the entire life is called as the chronic disease.

By saying or concluding that the disease is acute or chronic, it will not define the severity of that disease rather only length of the illness or diseases. As sometimes acute condition may develop into chronic disease also, like in case of asthma, the first attack is said to be the acute condition, but it may later develop into the chronic condition if left untreated.

An acute condition is one where symptoms appear suddenly and worsen rapidly, while a chronic condition is one that develops gradually and worsens over an extended period of time.

Acute pain tells your body you’ve been hurt. The pain appears suddenly, peaks as a signal to your body to heal the injury, and wanes as it heals. Chronic pain, on the other hand creeps up on you gradually.  It lasts for weeks, even months beyond the expected recovery, till you feel the pain itself is a disease and becomes a part of you. Acute illnesses are far more common than chronic illnesses. Over 90 million Americans have a chronic illness. Approximately 1 in 3 people are affected by chronic illness.


Some acute diseases can resolve without treatment (like the flu), the virus will work its way out of your body with rest and hydration. Other acute issues may need medical treatment, but the duration is very short typically. Chronic diseases often require extended care or hospitalization.


Examples of acute: Breaking a bone, burn, strep throat, flu, asthma attack, or heartburn

Examples of chronic: Osteoporosis, asthma, frequent migraines, consistent back pain, heart disease, kidney disease.



Acute vs. Chronic Illness. (2018). Retrieved from