Difference between Severe and Chronic

Key difference: In medicine, ‘severe’ and ‘chronic’ are types of diseases, which are totally different from each other. Severe diseases generally indicate the intensity of an individual’s illness; whereas, chronic disease indicates the time span of the illness.

Severe diseases are intense type of common diseases, such as pain, cough, headache, severe stomach ache, etc. These are non-contagious type of diseases, whose physical and social symptoms create a strong impact on the patient or the sufferer. They block the normal abilities of the patient. These are also considered to be types of uncontrollable diseases because of the extreme intensity and disturbance caused to the routine functions of the body. Although these types of diseases usually do not require regular hospitalization, they often involve a high level of dependency on families and friends, as well as regular treatment by specialist physicians at times.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports chronic as “the non-communicable conditions to be by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 35 million deaths in 2005 and over 60% of all deaths”. Chronic diseases are long lasting and of a continuous type. These are non-communicable and non-infectious in nature, and are generally persistent throughout life. In medicine, the term ‘chronic’ is usually applied when the course of disease lasts for more than three months. Most common example of chronic diseases are HIV/AIDS, arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, and diabetes. According to a study, the chronic diseases today constitute a major cause of mortality

Managing Chronic Disease

Both severe and chronic are non communicable diseases, but they differ widely in the time factor, that is, the severe disease though being long lasting and extreme can be cured and stopped after a relevant duration of time. Whereas, a chronic disease is more severe and long lasting as compared to other type of diseases. Unlike severe diseases, these diseases cannot be healed thoroughly. A severe disease upon its occurrence disturbs an individual and causes uncontrollable pain. They also include the diseases which are too common in day to day life, like the common and extreme cold, cough, headache, etc. Patients suffering from chronic type of diseases have to be hospitalized regularly, for a proper and perfect treatment.

Comparison between Severe and Chronic:




Short description

Severe diseases are intense type of common diseases, for example: cough, cold and headache.

Chronic diseases are long lasting and a continuous type of diseases, for example: AIDS, cancer etc.

Time duration

They are not long lasting.

They are long lasting.


The behavior is also changed in these diseases.

The behavioral change is not observed that much.

Symptoms Here, the sytmptoms are noticable during the early stages.  Here, the symptoms are not noticable during the early stages. 


  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Osteoporosis and other bone disorders
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus


  • Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, lupus erythematosus, Crohn's Disease and Coeliac Disease
  • Blindness
  • Cancer / neoplastic diseases not amenable to be cured
  • Cardiovascular diseases: cerebrovascular disease, heart failure, ischemic cardiopathy
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis


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