Difference Between Acute Illness and Chronic Illness (With Table)

Illness is a condition where the person’s mental, physical, social, development, intellectual, spiritual functioning gets affected. Germs can cause illness. Most illnesses can be differentiated as – acute illness and chronic illness.

Acute Illness vs Chronic Illness

The main difference between acute and chronic illnesses is that acute illnesses are sudden in onset and can be cured by themselves or prescribed medicine from doctors, whereas, chronic illnesses last for a longer period. It cannot get cured by vaccines, nor do they vanished, but it can get prevented.

Acute illness occurs generally, suddenly, and unexpectedly. It does cause any damage to the body. It lasts for a short time, often for a short day or a weak. The acute disease does not mean new, although many newly diagnosed patients present with a period. It measures acute symptoms that symptoms have developed quickly and that some medical mediation is needed, for example – common viral, burn, etc.

The chronic illness gradually develops slowly with time. Chronic illness does not mean serious or something which will shorten someone’s lifespan. It simply indicates that the condition is non-curable but can be controlled with time. Most, but not all chronic diseases will lead to an serious note if left untreated, for example – heart attack, stroke, etc

Comparison Table between Acute Illness and Chronic Illness

Parameters of
Acute illnessChronic illness
Time frameIt last for a few days or a week.It last for a months to years or lifetime.
CausesIt is often caused by injuries like while playing, working or from and accident cause by automobile or by falling. It is also cause by poor hygiene, virus . It is cause by daily unhealthy activities such as eating junk food, consumption of excessive alcohol, smoking everyday. Sometimes it is also caused by genetics.
SymptomsAcute disease comes on abruptly, and are
accompanied by distinct symptoms that require
urgent or short–term care.
Chronic condition are slower in development, may progress over time, and may have any number of warning signs or might have show no sign at all.
TreatmentIt can get treated with simple courses of
antibiotics or other prescription medication. It can also be self-treated
Chronic illness cannot get cured. It can only be controlled.
ExampleBurn, flu, heart attack, common cold, broken bone, strep throatDepression, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke.

What is Acute Illness?

Acute illness generally occurs abruptly. They occur over a prolonged period. It can often be solve as quickly on its own or with medical treatment. Sometimes it can also be fast-acting and severe enough that the patient will not survive. Acute illness is often due to a virus or an infection, but can also be caused by an injury.
Exercise can help recover from different acute illness.

What is a Chronic Illness?

A chronic disease is a disease that stays for a longer period/lifetime. Chronic illness are fatal.Treatment is mostly not effective rather than treatment prevention is considered to be beneficial. The prevention of chronic illness depends on diet, physical activities, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and not smoking.
Early diagnosis is essential and helpful in managing chronic disease and can help in control of it.

Main Differences Between Acute Illness and Chronic Illness

  1. Acute illness does not have harmful effects as it stays for a shorter period, whereas chronic illness has a negative effect and is dangerous which can lead or affect different parts of the body.
  2. Acute illness generally develops abruptly and lasts for a short time whereas chronic illness develops slowly and takes time for development.
  3. Acute illness can get treated by itself or by prescribed medicine from an expert, whereas chronic illness cannot get cured. It can only be controlled.
  4. Acute illness is mainly due to germs or injuries, but chronic illness is caused by daily habits, genes, poor diet.
  5. Acute illness does not cause any damage to the body but chronic illness damages the body of the person.


From the above discussion, it can be concluded that acute illness is a type of short-term illness, whereas chronic illness is a type of long-term illness.
The effects of acute illness are minor than those of chronic illness. Thus, the consequences of getting affected by a chronic illness are worse than those of an acute illness.
However, getting affected by the acute disease for most of the time might turn out to be a chronic one. So it is better to take precautions even if you get affected by acute diseases.