Difference Between Acute and Chronic Diseases

What is an Acute Disease?

The diseases that occur suddenly and last for a few days are known as Acute Diseases. This condition can be treated with medical treatment or on its own. Many times, acute diseases turn chronic if they continue to persist. Acute diseases can occur throughout all body systems. For eg, the first asthma attack is acute which later turns chronic. Strep throat, broken bone, appendicitis, influenza, pneumonia, cold-cough etc. are some of the acute diseases.

What is a Chronic Disease?

Some diseases occur over a period of time and stay longer in the body, may be for lifetime, are called Chronic Diseases. These types of diseases might last in your body for more than three years. The symptoms of these diseases are initially very mild and slowly damage the body and sometimes may become fatal. 

The risk factors involved in such diseases may be age, gender, an unhealthy lifestyle, etc. A chronic disease may or may not be cured by medications. It cannot be prevented by vaccines as well. Elephantiasis, Hepatitis C, HIV, arthritis, diabetes mellitus are some of the chronic diseases.

However, chronic disease can be controlled by:

  • participation in physical activity

  • healthy diet

  • no smoking

  • controlling alcohol consumption

A chronic illness is very stressful. The stress obstructs and delays your recovery.

Differences Between Acute and Chronic Diseases

The difference between acute and chronic diseases are as mentioned below - 

Differences Between Acute and Chronic Diseases

Acute Diseases

Chronic Diseases

These diseases occur suddenly.

They occur over a prolonged period.

They last for a shorter period.

They last longer, even for a lifetime.

They do not cause damage to the body.

They damage the body of the patient.

They are not fatal.

Chronic diseases are fatal.

Eg., common cold, jaundice, typhoid, malaria

Eg., HIV, Elephantiasis, Cancer, 

Tuberculosis


Symptoms and treatment of Acute and Chronic Diseases 

Acute diseases are the ones which attack our body rapidly with some distinct symptoms present and require immediate care. These diseases however need short term care and get better once treated well. For instance, a broken leg bone that might take place from a fall must be treated immediately by a doctor. This bone crack will need immense care and will heal with time and care. Cold, cough and fever can also be termed as acute diseases as these things go away soon if taken care at the right time. Generally, people with acute illness heal up quickly. 


Chronic diseases

Chronic diseases are the ones which develop slowly but stay in our body for a long time. These diseases may have a number of warning signs or no signs at all. Some of the chronic diseases are diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases and these diseases can be cured only by controlling. 

How to prevent Acute and Chronic Diseases?

Human beings can prevent acute and chronic diseases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the following ways - 

  • Ensure generous consumption of fruits and vegetables and adequate folic acid intake. 

  • Limit consumption of sugar and sugar-based beverages. 

  • Limit excessive caloric intake from any source.

  • Limit sodium intake.

Key Points on Acute and Chronic Diseases

  • Acute diseases refer to the medical condition that occurs suddenly and lasts for a shorter period of time.

  • Chronic diseases develop slowly in our body and may last for a lifetime.

  • Chronic diseases are sometimes fatal.

  • Diseases that stay in our body for a longer time can prove to be fatal, otherwise can be treated by certain medications.

  • Common cold, typhoid, jaundice, cholera, burn, are some of the examples of  acute diseases.

  • Chronic diseases include AIDS, elephantiasis, cancer, tuberculosis etc.

Hence, we can say that the chronic diseases are more dangerous as compared to the acute diseases and need proper care, attention and research because these diseases make a long term effect on the patient.  

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Define Acute Diseases

The diseases that occur suddenly and last for a few days are known as Acute Diseases. This condition can be treated with medical treatment or on its own.

2. Define Chronic Diseases

Some diseases occur over a period of time and stay longer in the body, may be for lifetime, are called Chronic Diseases. These types of diseases might last in your body for more than three years.

How can you control chronic diseases?

Chronic disease can be controlled by:

  • participation in physical activity

  • healthy diet

  • no smoking

  • controlling alcohol consumption

4. How can you prevent yourself from Chronic and Acute Diseases?

Human beings can prevent acute and chronic diseases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the following ways - 


  • Ensure generous consumption of fruits and vegetables and adequate folic acid intake. 

  • Consume cereal products in their whole-grain, high-fiber form. ...

  • Limit consumption of sugar and sugar-based beverages. ...

  • Limit excessive caloric intake from any source. ...

  • Limit sodium intake.