In medicine, a chronic disease is a disease that is long-lasting or recurrent. The term chronic describes the course of the disease, or its rate of onset and development. A chronic course is distinguished from a recurrent course; recurrent diseases relapse repeatedly, with periods of remission in between. As an adjective, chronic can refer to a persistent and lasting medical condition. Chronicity is usually applied to a condition that lasts more than three months. Diabetes is a good example.

As of October 7 2007, approximately 1,299,010 people have died from a chronic disease this year.

The definition of a disease or causative condition may depend on the disease being chronic, and the term chronic will often, but not always appear in the description:

• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
• Chronic renal failure
• Hepatitis
• Leukemia
• lupus erythematosus

Chronic as a metaphor

The term "chronic" is often used as a figure of speech, comparing a problem to a chronic disease; one of the more common uses is chronic inflation (in macroeconomics).

Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Alternative Medicine. The Official Guide to Alternative Medicine is Dr. Z, Peter Zeischegg. Dr. Z’s current clinical and consulting work centers on alternative therapies without drugs and surgery, with emphasis on improving and balancing brain function.

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Dr. Z, Peter Zeischegg, The Official Guide to Alternative Medicine