When you’re not feeling well, the last thing on your mind is whether you’re experiencing an acute or chronic condition. You just want your doctor to diagnose your illness and restore your health as quickly and effectively as possible.
However, the healthcare you receive will often depend on whether your illness is, in fact, acute or the result of a chronic condition. Let’s talk about the differences between the two:
What Is Acute Care?
The word “acute” is often interpreted as meaning “severe.” But in medical terms, a more accurate synonym is “immediate.” When you suddenly become ill, it is something that you didn’t have before that is happening right now.
The good news is that an acute illness or injury can be treated. The symptoms you are experiencing may be severe, but they will only linger until your doctor addresses the cause.
A few examples of acute conditions include:
- Viruses (such as the flu)
Care for Chronic Health Conditions
A chronic condition, on the other hand, is an illness that is long-lasting or persistent. The onset of severe symptoms constitutes an acute medical condition at first, and your doctor may perform tests to determine whether the symptoms are due to a chronic condition.
A few examples of chronic conditions include:
- Heart disease
Whereas an acute illness generally develops suddenly and lasts a short time, a chronic illness develops slowly and may worsen over an extended period of time – thereby requiring a long-term medical plan to keep it under control as much as possible. Some chronic conditions may eventually be resolved through medication, surgery, physical therapy, or other treatment options; but until then, ongoing care must be taken.
It is important that your primary care doctor is trained to recognize the difference between acute and chronic illnesses. This is important because the proper diagnosis and classification will affect your treatment plan or care strategy.
For example, a patient with a chronic pulmonary problem like asthma is in need of long-term management of the condition – as opposed to someone with a case of bronchitis, which will go away following treatment.
Trusted Doctors in Sarasota and Manatee Counties
Both acute and chronic conditions are treatable with proper medical supervision. At Intercoastal Medical Group, our experienced team has the training and experience to distinguish between an acute and chronic illness and to then prescribe further testing or the appropriate course of treatment.
If you are diagnosed with an acute condition, your physician will provide the care necessary to facilitate a swift recovery. If, however, you have a medical problem that is persistent and long-lasting, the doctor can provide the compassionate care to help you manage your chronic condition properly to minimize your discomfort and improve your quality of life.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled doctors, contact us today by calling the location near you or by filling out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you enjoy optimum health and wellness!