SymptomChecker

There are 69 possible causes of malaise

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Malaise

Unlike most other conditions, malaise doesn’t have a precise set of symptoms. Instead, it is described as an overall sense of discomfort, illness, or simply not feeling well.

Sometimes, a person can have a sudden onset of malaise. Other times, it may develop gradually and persist for a long period. The reason behind an individual’s malaise can be extremely difficult to pinpoint because it can be caused by so many conditions.

However, once a diagnosis is made, treating the condition may ease the individual’s malaise.

Causes of Malaise

Health Conditions

The list below includes some of the possible explanations for malaise. However, this list is far from exhaustive. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), practically any serious health condition can result in a feeling of malaise (NIH, 2011).Therefore, it is important not to jump to conclusions about the cause until you have seen your doctor.

Some medical reasons for malaise include:

  • acute viral syndrome
  • acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • adrenal gland dysfunction
  • anemia (severe)
  • bronchitis (acute)
  • colon cancer and other cancers involving solid malignant tumors
  • congestive heart failure
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • hepatitis
  • influenza
  • kidney and liver disease
  • leukemia
  • Lyme disease
  • lymphoma
  • mononucleosis
  • parasitic infections
  • pituitary gland dysfunction (rare condition)
  • pneumonia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • sarcoidosis
  • tuberculosis

Medications

Some medications can also put you at risk for malaise. These include:

  • anticonvulsants
  • some medications used to treat hypertension and heart disease (specifically beta blockers)
  • medications used to treat psychiatric disorders
  • antihistamines
  • combinations of different medications

Malaise and Fatigue

Fatigue often occurs along with malaise. An individual experiencing malaise will often also feel exhausted or lethargic in addition to a generalized feeling of being unwell.

Like malaise, fatigue has a large number of possible explanations. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, fatigue can be attributed to lifestyle factors, illnesses, and certain medications (UMMC, 2011).

When Should You See Your Doctor About Your Malaise?

The NIH recommends making an appointment with your doctor to have your malaise assessed if:

  • the feelings of malaise you are experiencing are significant
  • you have persistent malaise that has lasted longer than seven days
  • you are experiencing other symptoms in addition to the malaise (NIH, 2011)

How Is Malaise Diagnosed? 

Your doctor will likely first perform a physical examination. He or she will be looking for an obvious physical condition that could be causing your malaise or clues to its root cause.

Your doctor will also probably ask questions about your malaise. Be prepared to provide details such as:

  • approximately when the malaise started
  • whether the malaise seems to come and go, or is constantly present

In addition, your doctor will likely ask you questions about factors such as:

  • recent travel
  • additional symptoms you are experiencing
  • challenges you are experiencing with respect to completing daily activities, and why you feel you are having these challenges
  • medications you are taking
  • your current medical status, including whether you have any known health issues and/or conditions
  • alcohol use
  • drug use

Your doctor may have a better idea of what is causing you to feel generally unwell after the exam. At that point, he or she may order medical testing to confirm or rule out one or more diagnoses. These tests may include blood tests, X-rays, and other diagnostic tools.

How Can Malaise Be Treated and Prevented?

Malaise is not a condition in and of itself. Therefore, treatment will be aimed at addressing the underlying cause. It is impossible to predict what this treatment will consist of because malaise can be caused by something as simple as the flu or something as serious as leukemia.

Treatment for the underlying cause of your malaise can help control the feeling and prevent it from becoming overwhelming. You can minimize your malaise by:

  • getting plenty of rest
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a balanced, healthy diet
  • controlling stress

Because it has so many possible causes, malaise is not easy to prevent.

Article Sources:

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Possible Causes - Listed in order from the most common to the least.

1

Cold and Flu Overview

Overview Colds (common colds) and the flu (influenza) are contagious infections that affect the respiratory system. Both are airborne illnesses, spread through coughing and sneezing. Colds typically are confined to th...

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2

Sinus Infections (Sinusitis)

A sinus infection causes the sinuses and nasal passages to become inflamed. Facial swelling is a common sign of this type of infection.

Read more »

3

Chronic Bronchitis

People often develop acute bronchitis after a viral chest infection. Blue-colored lips ankle or foot swelling can result.

Read more »

4

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. It

Read more »

5

Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Also known as hypoglycemia, low blood sugar can be a dangerous condition. Hypoglycemia is rare in people who are not suffering from diabetes, the chronic disease that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar...

Read more »

6

Swine Flu

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, is a highly contagious virus with symptoms similar to common influenza types. It spreads quickly from person to person, and can linger on tables and surface areas.

Read more »

7

Necrotizing Fasciitis (Soft Tissue Inflammation)

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a type of soft tissue infection. It can destroy the tissue in your skin and muscles as well as subcutaneous tissue. Necrotizing fasciitis is most commonly caused by an infection with group ...

Read more »

8

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is an infectious condition transmitted via tick bite. A "bull's eye" rash at the site of the bite is an early symptom of this disease.

Read more »

9

Encephalitis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain tissue usually caused by viral infection. Mild symptoms include fever, headache, and vomiting. Seizure, unconsciousness, and high fever are severe signs.

Read more »

10

CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disorder characterized by intense fatigue that cannot be cured with sleep. Mental and physical activities may cause symptoms to worsen. When fatigue cannot be linked to ...

Read more »

11

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes destruction of the kidneys. It is progressive and irreversible.Your kidneys are an essential part of your body. They have a number of functions: help maintain the balance of mineral...

Read more »

12

Pyelonephritis

Pyelonephritis is a sudden and severe kidney infection. This condition causes the kidneys to swell, can permanently damage the kidneys, and can even be life threatening. It is important to recognize the symptoms so yo...

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13

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are, however, other causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis (a disease occurring whe...

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14

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is a lymphatic system cancer. Tumors develop from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. NHL is more common than Hodgkin's lymphoma. Many types of cancers can spread to the lymph nodes...

Read more »

15

Infectious Mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis, often called "mono," is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It typically occurs in teenagers, but you can get it at any age. The virus is spread through saliva, which is why some peopl...

Read more »

16

Bone Infection (Osteomyelitis)

A bone infection, also called osteomyelitis, can result when bacteria or fungi invade a bone. In children, bone infections most commonly occur in the long bones of the arms and legs, but in adults they usually appear i...

Read more »

17

Chickenpox

Also known as varicella, chickenpox is a virus that often affects children. It is characterized by itchy red blisters that appear all over the body. Chickenpox was once so common it was considered a childhood rite o...

Read more »

18

The Atypical Facts About Atypical Pneumonia

Atypical pneumonia refers to pneumonia (a long infection) that is not caused by the bacteria that cause the "typical pneumonia." Typical pneumonia tends to be more serious than atypical pneumonia. This type of pneumoni...

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19

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection. Cellulitis may first appear as a red, swollen area that feels hot and tender to the touch. The redness and swelling often spread rapidly. Cellulitis is usually painful.I...

Read more »

20

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is liver inflammation caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV is one of five types of hepatitis virus. The others are hepatitis A, C, D, and E. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stat...

Read more »

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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