Chronic has several meanings in the field of medicine:
1. Pertaining to a health-related condition, disease,
and/ or frequently reoccurs over a long period of time.
The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics defines
a chronic condition as one that has lasted for three
months or more. In some conditions, chronic is defined
as six months or longer.
Chronic pain causes distress.
Chronic conditions often progress slowly and last for the remainder of a person's life. An
is general term for diseases that are characterized by long-term or permanent narrowing
of small airways (known as bronchi) connected to the lungs. Other examples of chronic
2. Someone who suffers from a disease that lasts and/ or frequently reoccurs over a
long period of time. Such a person may be referred to as a "chronic."
3. Pertaining to long-term or extensive exposure to something. Examples would be
chronic exposure to lead, second-hand smoke, or other environmental toxins.
4. Low intensity.
5. A slang word for "marijuana."
Compare chronic to acute, which means pertaining to a health-related condition, disease, state, disorder,
or set of symptoms that usually begins suddenly, is sharp and/or intense, and lasts for a short period of
time. Chronicity is the state of being chronic. Chronic comes from the Greek word "chronos" meaning