People often confuse acute and chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are long term and may last a lifetime. The acute illness appears suddenly and may go away in a few days. More severe acute conditions need medical attention or, in some cases, hospitalization. At Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, Dr. Joel Biggers, and Dr. Elizabeth Biggers want patients to be aware of signs and symptoms of acute diseases that need medical attention.
What are Acute Diseases?
Acute diseases can appear suddenly. Some, such as a common cold, may only last a short period. Acute conditions can be severe. The term acute refers to the length of the disease. Examples of acute diseases include the following:
- Acute leukemia
- Strep throat
Severe conditions may require hospitalization, such as pneumonia or heart attacks.
Treatment of Acute Diseases
You can recover from some acute diseases through natural healing. Treatment by Dr. Joel Bigger or Dr. Elizabeth Bigger in Brandon, FL, can hasten and ensure a full recovery.
Early diagnosis and treatment are critical in preventing acute conditions from becoming long-term diseases. Your primary care physician can provide a thorough examination and history. The examination may include laboratory or other diagnostic tests. Drugs, such as antibiotics in cases of infection, for example, are prescribed. Preventative care, including regular vaccinations, may prevent acute diseases such as influenza, pneumonia, or tetanus infections.
Sometimes, your primary care physician may recommend lifestyle changes. These can include bed rest, diet, or exercise. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further treatment.
Your primary care physician is familiar with your health history and is often the best choice for treating and preventing acute illnesses.
Managing Acute Emergencies
Some acute symptoms are life-threatening and require immediate care. In these cases, you need to go directly to an emergency room. Examples of acute emergencies include the following conditions.
- Acute asthma attacks
- Myocardial infarctions (heart attacks)
- Anaphylactic shock (allergic reaction)
- Hypoglycemic coma
- Head injuries and trauma
If you are unsure whether your condition is life-threatening, refer to the following list of symptoms that require emergency attention.
- Sudden or severe pain
- Unusual abdominal pain
- Change in vision
- Chest pain lasting up to two minutes or longer
- Confusion, abnormal behavior, difficulty walking or speaking
- Coughing or vomiting blood
- Fainting, dizziness, sudden weakness
- Severe or continuous vomiting or diarrhea
- Suicidal or homicidal feelings
- Uncontrolled bleeding
Your primary care physician should be informed of emergencies as he or she will provide follow-up care.
To learn more about acute diseases and preventative care, make an appointment with Dr. Joel Biggers or Dr. Elizabeth Biggers at Biggers Family Medicine in Brandon, FL, at (813) 655-4646.