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Malaise

Definition

Malaise is a generalized feeling of discomfort, illness, or lack of well-being.

Alternative Names

General ill feeling

Considerations

Malaise is a symptom that can occur with almost any significant health condition. It may start slowly or quickly, depending on the type of disease.

Fatigue occurs with malaise in many common diseases. Mailaise can be accompanied by a feeling of not having enough energy to accomplish usual activities.

Common Causes

The following lists give examples of the diseases, conditions, and medications that can cause malaise.

SHORT-TERM (ACUTE) INFECTIOUS DISEASE

LONG-TERM (CHRONIC) INFECTIOUS DISEASE

HEART AND LUNG (CARDIOPULMONARY) DISEASE

ORGAN FAILURE

CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASE

ENDOCRINE or METABOLIC DISEASE

CANCER

BLOOD DISORDERS

PSYCHIATRIC

MEDICATIONS

  • Anticonvulsant (antiseizure) medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Beta blockers (medications used to treat heart disease or high blood pressure)
  • Psychiatric medications
  • Treatments involving several medications

Home Care

If you have significant malaise, contact your health care provider immediately.

Call your health care provider if

Contact your health care provider if:

  • You have other symptoms with the malaise.
  • Malaise lasts longer than one week, with or without other symptoms.

What to expect at your health care provider's office

Your health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions such as:

  • How long has this feeling lasted (weeks or months)?
  • What other symptoms do you have?
  • Is the malaise constant or episodic (comes and goes)?
  • Can you complete your daily activities? If not, what limits you?
  • Have you recently traveled?
  • What medications are you on?
  • What are your other medical problems?
  • Do you use alcohol or other drugs?

If signs or symptoms of a significant illness are present, tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis. These may include various blood tests, x-rays, or other diagnostic tests.

References

Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.


Review Date: 2/22/2009
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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