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What is Malaise? 

Malaise is a common complaint that is better characterized as a general feeling of illness, discomfort, or lack of well-being. It usually occurs as a symptom of an underlying medical condition, and fatigue often accompanies it. Malaise may occur as the result of any real or perceived health condition including both minor and severe afflictions. When it is an ongoing problem, patients should see a doctor to determine the underlying cause.

Underlying Causes of Malaise

Feeling of malaise may develop suddenly or gradually. In many cases, it occurs with common afflictions such as a cold or the flu. In these situations, it typically subsides along with the infection's other symptoms. In other cases, however, it may be more chronic in nature. When feelings of malaise last for an extended period, it is likely that the underlying condition is of more significant concern.

Malaise and Diseases

Malaise occurs as a symptom of several chronic infectious diseases including hepatitis, AIDS, tuberculosis, and diseases caused by parasites. It may also happen as the result of other chronic health conditions including COPD, congestive heart failure, acute or chronic organ failure, sarcoidosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid disease, leukemia, lymphoma, anemia, and depression. When taken for extended periods of time, medications like anticonvulsants, beta blockers, antihistamines, and psychiatric medications may also lead to prolonged feelings of malaise.

Diagnosing Malaise

When feelings of malaise are ongoing or severe enough to interfere with one's day to day activities, it is essential to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause. Doctors will typically perform a complete physical examination and gather the patient's medical history including any medications he or she may be taking. Besides, the doctor will ask questions regarding when the symptom started, how severe it is, and any other symptoms the patient may be experiencing. Using this information, the doctor can determine the next step in the patient's diagnosis or treatment. In many cases, additional testing is required. Blood tests and urinalysis are commonly performed as a means of detecting potential causes. When these tests are inconclusive or point problems with specific parts of the body, diagnostic imaging procedures may be utilized.

Malaise Treatment Options

When an underlying cause is determined, malaise can usually be managed through lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments. In some cases, however, the underlying cause cannot be treated. In these situations, doctors do their best to minimize the patient's symptoms. The prognosis for the conditions that can cause malaise vary significantly.

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