If you have a sense of malaise, you may not feel quite right, but you might be hard-pressed to put your fingers on exactly what's bothering you. It's not a condition, but a set of symptoms linked to some other problem. When you're in the grip of it, you might have fatigue, pain, and a lack of interest in your usual activities.
Depending on the cause, malaise can start slowly or hit you suddenly.
Scores of illnesses or disorders can lead to different degrees of malaise. They may range from viral conditions and blood diseases to organ failure and psychiatric disorders.
Short-Term (Acute) Illnesses
A sudden infection that eventually runs its course can shock your body. There are several diseases that are more closely linked with malaise. The most common ones and their symptoms -- in addition to malaise -- include:
Long-Term (Chronic) Illnesses
Malaise can be an early sign or ongoing symptom of long-term illnesses like:
Arthritis. The many forms of this joint disease can cause malaise. You might also have joint pain, stiffness that improves with activity, and less range of motion.
Chronic fatigue syndrome. If this is the reason for your malaise, you would feel extremely tired, most of the time, and for no clear reason. You might find sleep unrefreshing. You could have trouble concentrating, too.
Any major stress to your body, such as injury or surgery, can also cause malaise.
Some drugs may not cause malaise on their own, but they can when you take them with other drugs.
There are many things in your life that can lead to malaise, such as:
You should see a doctor if you feel overwhelmed by malaise for more than 7 days. Since malaise itself is not a disease, your doctor will look for other possible symptoms in order to diagnose you.
Your doctor will likely do a physical. They may ask questions like:
- How long have you felt ill?
- Do you have other symptoms?
- Is your malaise constant, or does it come and go?
- What medications are you taking?
- Do you have other medical problems?
- Can you complete your daily tasks?
Until your doctor treats the problem that's causing malaise, there are things you can try at home to feel better:
Avoid long naps in the day. An afternoon snooze can make you feel even more sluggish. And it may make it harder to go to sleep at night.