Acute and chronic diseases conditions


A disease is the absence of health or an infirmity where the individual`s wellbeing is profoundly disturbed. A disease can appear in a variety of forms in various organisms. In human beings, the disease and the disorder is being used alternatively. A disease is a state in which an individual`s physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing has substantially decreased. If the condition sustains over a very long period, it is known as chronic, for instance, Alzheimer’s disease, Arthritis, Epilepsy, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Depression, hypertension, Diabetes, and some of the Heart diseases. On the other hand, if the condition is existing for a shorter duration but it is severe in nature, then this is known as an acute disease, for instance, Fever, Cold, Broken bone, Bronchitis,  Burns and scalds, Flu, severe cough, intestinal infections, Heart attack,  Pneumonia and some common Respiratory infections such as strep throat.  In most of the patients, a disease must be properly diagnosed with clear evidence of symptoms and derangement of laboratory values of body samples such as blood, sputum and urine. A disease can be categorized into acute or chromic only after the proper diagnosis is being exercised. There is no well-defined parameter to classify a disease into either acute or chronic, however, there are distinguishing features that decide a condition into whether it is acute or chronic in nature. The following table explains the differences between acute and chronic conditions.


Differences between acute and chronic diseases



An acute is so-called if there is a sudden onset of the condition characterized by a sharp rise in the severity.

Continuing or occurring again and again with brief periods of remissions and reoccurrence of symptoms.

Acute is when the course of illness is very short, like a few hours or days but not beyond a few weeks of course.

Chronic is when the course of illness is prolonged over weeks, months, years and even for the lifetime.

Acute illnesses are usually focal, specified to one or a few regions of the body.

The chronic or long-term conditions frequently involve multiple systems and have an uncertain future.

Acute illnesses respond to treatment very well, however, an intensive treatment approach is mandatory.

Chronic conditions do not respond to therapies, hence the symptoms exist over months.

Acute stage requires a sophisticated setup such as an ICU or operation theatre to treat the conditions.

Chronic conditions can be treated in an outpatient and home care setups.

Acute conditions are often caused by a virus or an infection, but can also be caused by an injury resulting from a fall or an automobile accident, or by the misuse of drugs or medications.

Chronic conditions are often caused by unhealthy behaviours that increase the risk of disease. Some of the unacceptable health practices such as poor nutrition, inadequate physical activity, excess of alcoholism and smoking.

Acute disease has a specific cause of illness, for instance, a broken bone can happen due to a fall or an accident

Chronic conditions can result from ageing, social, emotional, environmental, and genetic factors.

The risk profile of acute disease is higher, however, the recovery is fast if the treatment is timely and prompt.

This needs careful monitoring and drug therapy, although recovery is possible but it is slow. On the other hand, the mortality rate is low as a result of a prolonged illness

Most common acute conditions are cold, burns, breaking of bone, typhoid, jaundice, cholera, burn, strep throat, etc.   

Some of the examples are Diabetes, arthritis, cancer, tuberculosis, heart disease, asthma attack, osteoporosis, etc.




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