What is Malaise?

Malaise is a condition in which an individual has a sense of overall weakness with the whole body feeling weak and tired. Malaise can also cause a sense of discomfort in the body and a feeling that all is not well with the body and there is some kind of illness that is bothering the individual. Malaise is most often than not accompanied by fatigue and lethargy and not being able to do basic tasks of daily living. Malaise may cause an individual to stay in bed for a lot of time due to a general sense of being unwell.

Malaise at times may come out of the blue but most of the times it comes on gradually and stays for a long period of time. Malaise is more of a symptom of an underlying condition rather than a medical condition itself. The exact cause of Malaise is difficult to determine unless an accurate diagnosis of some other medical condition causing Malaise is made, as there are a lot of medical condition with malaise as their presenting feature but once the underlying condition is diagnosed then formulating a treatment plan is easier and it becomes easier to get rid of Malaise.

What is Malaise?

What are the Causes of Malaise?

As stated, there may be numerous causes of Malaise. Anytime when there is a change in the body taking place malaise will occur. This change may occur due to an injury or an illness, or an infection. Some of the general causes of malaise have been listed below. These causes are:

Malaise is a classic presenting feature of different types of arthritis like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis along with pain and discomfort.

Certain viral conditions which can result in development of Malaise are:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a complex medical condition in which the affected individual will experience Malaise along with fatigue and pain.

There are also certain medical conditions that tend to cause Malaise. These conditions are:

  • Anemia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • COPD
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Diabetes Mellitus.

There are also certain psychological conditions that tend to cause Malaise in an individual but one point to consider here is that Malaise may give rise to depression and anxiety and depression and anxiety may also cause malaise so it is difficult to determine which causes which.

Some of the other causes of Malaise are:

  • Parasitic infections
  • Flu
  • Mononucleosis
  • Cancer
  • Dysfunction of the adrenal glands.

There are also certain classes of medications that may cause Malaise. These classes of medications are:

  • Anticonvulsants. Certain anticonvulsants used for preventing seizures and also used for depression and anxiety disorders can cause Malaise
  • Certain classes of antihypertensives also tend to cause Malaise, especially beta blockers
  • Antipsychotics also have a tendency to cause Malaise
  • Antihistamines also have been shown to cause Malaise.

Certain medications may not cause Malaise when used alone but may cause it when used in combination with some other medications

Another important cause of Malaise can be alcohol and recreational drug abuse withdrawal. When an individual stops alcohol or recreational drugs then he or she may develop Malaise as the body does not get its usual share of the drug or alcohol.

When Should One See a Medical Professional for Malaise?

Having Malaise may signal an underlying medical condition but if it is caused by a simple viral infection or an injury or trauma as and when the injury heals or the infection clears up the Malaise also goes away. In cases where Malaise does not resolve in a week or so, then it is advised to seek medical attention to find out the underlying cause of Malaise and if the individual experiences certain other symptoms along with Malaise. Since the cause of Malaise is difficult to determine as it can be caused due to many reasons hence it is important to be forthright with the treating physician about the symptoms as what can probably cause Malaise so that it becomes easier for the physician to come to a conclusion as what may be causing Malaise and then formulate a treatment plan accordingly.

How is Malaise Diagnosed?

Finding out the cause of Malaise begins with a history and physical examination of the patient. During history taking, the physician will inquire as to whether the patient has been subjected to any trauma or injury, is there a history of any foreign travel especially in areas which are known to cause viral infections. Once history taking is complete then a physical examination is conducted to find out any abnormality that may help identify a cause for the Malaise in a patient. The physician will also order laboratory tests like CBC, ESR or CRP to find out if there is any infection that may be causing this Malaise. The patient will also be asked about whether there are any medications that he or she is taking so as to identify a cause for the Malaise. Social history of the patient is also important such as a history of alcohol and drug abuse to pinpoint a cause for the patient’s Malaise. Radiographic studies in the form of x-rays, CT scans and MRI may also be done depending on the other associated symptoms apart from the Malaise to identify the cause of Malaise.

What is the Treatment for Malaise?

As stated, Malaise by itself is not a condition but is rather a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Hence treatment for Malaise depends on the underlying cause of Malaise. It is extremely difficult to predict a treatment for Malaise without knowing a cause for it.

There can be certain things that can be followed to reduce Malaise until a diagnosis is confirmed as to the cause of the Malaise and a treatment plan formulated. These things are:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Regular physical activity
  • Eating a balanced and healthy diet
  • Keeping stress under control
  • Have a calm and relaxed mind.

Since Malaise can be caused due to many conditions it is difficult to pinpoint as to what preventive measures can be taken to keep Malaise at bay but what an individual can do is make a note of what triggers Malaise and what measures are taken to keep them at a low level so that the individual is able to complete tasks given to him or her without much difficulty and be active despite experiencing Malaise.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 30, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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