Understanding the Difference between Acute and Chronic Disease

You may often hear the terms acute and chronic illness. However, what exactly is the difference between the two types of disease? Come on, find out the answer in the following article.

The difference between acute and chronic disease lies in the course of the disease. The disease can be said to be acute if a person suffers from an illness in a relatively short time, which is less than 6 months. One of the hallmarks of acute illness is that the symptoms appear quickly or suddenly.

Meanwhile, the term chronic disease is used to describe a disease that can be suffered for a long time, usually more than 6 months or even years.

In contrast to acute illness, where symptoms can appear suddenly, chronic disease sometimes causes no symptoms at an early stage and symptoms only appear when the disease begins to get worse or gets worse.

Types of Acute Disease

Acute illness usually appears suddenly. If not treated immediately, some acute illnesses can quickly worsen and cause severe symptoms. The following are some examples of acute illness:

1. Asthma attack

Asthma attack

Asthma attacks are symptoms of asthma that appear and can worsen suddenly. When an asthma attack occurs, a person can experience shortness of breath, wheezing or wheezing, pale face, cold sweat, coughing, to panic and anxiety.

Asthma attacks can be overcome and prevented by avoiding triggering factors. People who have an asthma attack need to get first aid immediately. If the complaint of shortness of breath due to asthma does not improve or the shortness of breath is quite severe, seek immediate medical attention.

2. Dengue fever

Dengue fever

Dengue fever is a disease caused by the dengue virus. This disease is caused by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and usually occurs during the rainy season.

Symptoms of dengue fever generally include fever, joint and muscle pain, headache or pain in the eye socket area, feeling weak, and the appearance of red spots on the skin.

When a person is exposed to dengue fever, he will enter the critical phase of dengue fever on the 3rd to 7th day after the symptoms of dengue fever appear. This critical phase is characterized by a fever that subsides, but the number of platelets or platelets will decrease drastically.

This condition is quite dangerous and needs to be treated by a doctor because it can cause spontaneous bleeding. In some cases, people with dengue fever can even go into shock. While in this condition, the patient needs to be monitored and treated by a doctor.

3. ARI

Acute respiratory infection

Acute respiratory infection or ARI is an infection in the respiratory tract caused by a virus or bacteria. This acute disease can cause symptoms of cough, runny nose, and is accompanied by fever.

ARI caused by a virus usually can heal itself in a few weeks without the need for special treatment. However, to relieve symptoms, sufferers can take cold and cough medicines or over-the-counter fever relievers such as paracetamol.

4. Acute kidney failure

Acute kidney failure

Acute kidney failure is a condition when the kidneys are damaged suddenly. This acute disease can be caused by impaired blood flow to the kidneys, kidney injury, inflammation, to blockages in the urinary tract.

Symptoms of acute kidney failure can appear within days or even hours after kidney failure occurs. Symptoms include swelling of the legs, shortness of breath, chest palpitations, chest pain, rash and itching on the skin, nausea and vomiting, fever, stomach and back pain, and feeling weak.

Acute kidney failure is a serious acute disease that needs to be treated immediately by a doctor. To treat acute kidney failure, doctors will usually advise patients to undergo hospitalization and follow a special diet.

In addition, the doctor will also give medicines and direct the patient to undergo dialysis.

5. COVID-19

COVID-19 is an acute disease that was only discovered at the end of 2019. This acute disease is caused by a new type of Coronavirus infection that attacks the respiratory system.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild symptoms such as symptoms of the common cold, to severe symptoms such as high fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can appear within 2–14 days after a person with COVID-19 is exposed to the Coronavirus.

To date, there is no proven effective and safe treatment for treating COVID-19. However, the symptoms of this disease usually subside in about 2 weeks.

This acute disease is highly contagious and there is no vaccine that can prevent or protect a person from COVID-19. Therefore, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease, everyone is encouraged to apply physical distancing and use masks at all times, especially when doing activities outside the home.

Types of Chronic Disease

In addition to a longer course of disease, chronic disease is also somewhat more complex and can cause a person’s condition to gradually weaken. Some chronic diseases also cannot be completely cured.

Some examples of diseases that can be classified as chronic diseases are:

1. Heart failure

Heart failure

Heart failure is a chronic disease of the heart that makes the heart swell, thus interfering with the heart’s performance in pumping blood.

The main symptoms of heart failure are shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the legs and ankles. These symptoms can develop gradually or occur suddenly.

Treatment of heart failure is done to relieve symptoms and improve the strength and function of the heart. To treat this chronic disease, doctors can advise people with heart failure to limit their activities, reduce fluid and salt intake, and give medication.

2. Cancer


Cancer is a type of chronic disease with a fairly high mortality rate. The reason is, this disease often does not cause symptoms in the early stages, so it is only detected when the cancer has entered a severe or advanced stage.

Symptoms of cancer that appear depend on the type of cancer and the organs affected. However, in general, people with cancer can usually experience some signs and symptoms such as:

1. Bumps appear in certain body parts
2. Pain in one part of the body
3. Drastic weight loss for no apparent reason
4. Prolonged fever
5. Weak and easily tired
6. Chronic cough
7. Easy bruising or frequent spontaneous bleeding, such as nosebleeds or bloody stools

This chronic disease needs to be detected early with cancer screening examinations. If a person is diagnosed with cancer, doctors will treat the disease with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. Determination of the type of treatment will be adjusted to the patient’s condition and the type and stage of cancer.

3. Hypertension

Controlling Blood Pressure

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a chronic disease that can lead to heart disease and stroke, if left untreated. This chronic disease is generally asymptomatic.

Usually, new hypertension symptoms appear when the sufferer’s blood pressure is very high. Symptoms that can appear include headache, weakness, visual disturbances, chest pain, chest palpitations, and shortness of breath.

This chronic disease can be prevented and overcome by living a healthy lifestyle, reducing salt intake, and taking antihypertensive drugs according to a doctor’s prescription.

4. Diabetes


Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels. This chronic disease can cause sufferers to experience several symptoms such as frequent thirst and hunger, frequent urination (especially at night), blurred vision, wounds that are difficult to heal, frequent infections, itchy skin, and a tingling, stinging, or dead sensation. flavor.

This disease can be treated by following a healthy diet, using diabetes medication, and maintaining an ideal body weight.

5. Chronic kidney failure

Chronic kidney failure

Chronic kidney failure (CKD) is a condition when kidney function declines gradually and persists. Kidney failure is called chronic if it has been occurring for months or years. This condition can also be preceded by untreated acute kidney failure.

Symptoms of chronic kidney failure include swelling of the legs, chest pain, and uncontrollable high blood pressure. In general, treatment for chronic kidney failure includes medication, dialysis, and kidney transplantation.

Diseases are divided into acute and chronic based on the duration of disease progression, not based on the level of danger. Both acute and chronic diseases need to be examined by a doctor and treated appropriately so that the disease does not get worse and cause complications or even death.

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