The medical definition of the term “acute” applies to many health conditions, from cancer to allergies. When using the term “acute,” doctors are simply referencing an injury or pain that occurs suddenly and generally lasts for a short period of time.
A person may have acute leukemia, acute bronchitis, or even acute bipolar disorder. Strokes, appendicitis, and respiratory problems may be described as acute as well.
While “acute” refers to a health condition that has surfaced suddenly, it does not indicate the severity of the illness. Rather, the term is used exclusively to describe the rapid onset of symptoms or illness or the short period of time that the symptoms or illness lasts. Accordingly, while the word may sound frightening at first, people who are told that their medical condition is acute should not assume the worst.
While a sudden rush of symptoms may be frightening, it does not mean that a person can not overcome the medical condition causing these symptoms. Acute appendicitis, for example, is extremely common, and patients manage to triumph in such cases every day, thanks to alert and fast-acting healthcare professionals.