Ward Class

An Online Resource Site For Student Nurses


Ward Class is an online resource for student nurses. Created with the aim of helping student nurses cope with the demands of nursing school and clinicals, it offers free downloads, notes, sample NCPs, sample drug studies, study aids, news and updates, and practical tips to its users.

Site Announcement

The December 2012 PRC Nursing Board Exam Result is already available here at Ward Class and at Pinoy R.N.

How are acute diseases different from chronic diseases?

It has been several days since my last entry here at Ward Class and since I wanted to keep this blog update really simple, I decided to come up with an entry differentiating acute diseases from chronic diseases. I know that you have encountered the terms before but let me assure you that when differentiating both terms, you need not limit yourself to knowing the onset and duration of illness. Read on:

  • Acute diseases usually have specific causes while chronic diseases often have multiple origins (often lifestyle related).
  • Acute diseases have an abrupt onset and progress rapidly while chronic diseases have a slow onset and lasts three months or more with a few or no symptoms to indicate its severity.
  • Acute diseases are of short duration while chronic diseases are of indefinite duration.
  • Acute diseases have easily recognizeable observable symptoms while chronic diseases often follow an indefinite course.
  • Acute diseases are characterized by outcomes that are usually favorable and by symptoms that usually resolve when the disease is cured; Chronic diseases are predictable but are with long periods of illness, remissions, and exacerbations.
  • The treatment of acute diseases is directed by the attending physician while chronic diseases involve long-term management (by the physician and patient) and lifestyle changes.
Furthermore, you might have heard of the term subacute. The term subacute is used to describe diseases with a recent onset and rather rapid change. Simply put, a subacute disease is a cross between the acute and chronic forms of the disease.


What are the most common chronic diseases among older adults? When was the last time you cared for a patient with multiple chronic illneses? What health teachings did you provide to your patient?


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