Something like diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid etc which don't have a cure and medicine has to be taken throughout life.

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    "Chronic" is one term.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 2:41
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    Maintenance treatment is common as is the more mundane ongoing care, or colloquially we call it life.
    – Stu W
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 2:43
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    Your question title asks about what to call treatments and the body is about diseases. Please edit your question with an example sentence where the word or phrase would be used.
    – user140086
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 3:53
  • You need to rewrite the body of your question to ask about treatments. If you ask about diseases, the question is a duplicate of english.stackexchange.com/questions/350978/… which is itself a duplicate of english.stackexchange.com/questions/126080/…
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 5:15
  • I think he's looking for a distinction between diseases that can be cured and those that can only be managed as there is no cure. Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


These are chronic illnesses or conditions. From Cambridge Dictionaries:

  1. (of an illness) persisting for a long time or constantly recurring: ‘chronic bronchitis’ Often contrasted with acute

    1.1 (of a person) having a chronic illness: ‘a chronic asthmatic

It is used specifically for the kinds of conditions you mention; for example:

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin . . . . ("Type 1 Diabetes." MayoClinic.org.)

Edit: Wikipedia also has a list of chronic conditions that includes diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and thyroid disease.

Note that the medical definition of chronic may include conditions that persist for as little as 3 months (see, e.g., the US National Center for Health Statistics' definition). I haven't found a medical term for a longer period (perhaps because doctors are generally optimistic that any condition might eventually be cured), but some medical definitions of chronic do specifically note that the condition may persist throughout life (see the Free Dictionary medical entry for a good overview, and the entries pulled from Mosby's Medical Dictionary and the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine as well as the "Patient discussion about Chronic" for definitions that specify life-long conditions).

I would expect if there was a longer term in common medical use it would appear alongside some of the above discussions and definitions of acute and chronic but I don't see such a word; maybe a medical terminology expert can fill the gap if there is a more obscure term.

One possible alternative is permanent condition, which appears to be a legal term (used for worker's compensation determinations and the like). At least one jurisdiction defines this as a condition likely to last at least two years, so still not actually life-long, and as a legal term I would expect it to vary by jurisdiction.

Finally, as your title asks what to call something that "there is no permanent cure for it" and the body of your question specifically references various medical conditions, I have assumed you are asking about the life-long conditions themselves rather than their potential treatments. If that's incorrect, please edit the question so I can amend or remove my answer.

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    It does need to be noted that "chronic" does not necessarily imply "permanent" or "life-long". It simply means lasting a (relatively) long time. There likely is a technical medical term which implies "life-long", but I'm not aware of what it might be.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 2:47
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    But note that OP seems to be looking for terms for the treatment of chronic conditions, not the name for chronic conditions. So answers like maintenance medication or ongoing treatments seem to be in order here.
    – Jim
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 2:52
  • @HotLicks Noted; I don't believe there is another term in common use, but it's certainly possible that an obscure specialist term exists. Let me know if you think my edit is insufficient to convey the flexibility of the term.
    – 1006a
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 3:32
  • @Jim The title is fairly ambiguous; the question starts out asking about treatments but ends by referring to "it" as something that "there is no permanent cure for"; the body of the question goes the other way, but grammatically seems to be asking about the conditions rather than the treatments. That's the question I answered, but if it's not what the OP meant I will reevaluate.
    – 1006a
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 3:37

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