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Acute Definition


Updated April 28, 2014

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Definition: Acute is the medical term for an illness or medical problem that begins and progresses rapidly. It may also refer to an illness that begins and ends quickly.

An acute illness usually starts and becomes a problem, sometimes a serious problem, very quickly.

An example of an acute illness is a heart attack. A person may be fine one moment, but having a life-threatening medical emergency mere minutes later, requiring emergency medical attention.

The opposite of acute is chronic.

Pronunciation: uh-cute
Also Known As: acute injury, acute disease, acute problem, acute illness, acutely,
Strep throat, which is painful but treated quickly and easily, is an example of an acute illness.
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