What Is Malaise?

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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The word “Malaise” is originally a French word, and it has been a part of the language since at least the 12th century. The word translates roughly as “not right” and it is usually used in a medical context to express the symptom of the patient generally feeling unwell.

The word is also sometimes used in other contexts. For example, a sluggish economy might sometimes be described to have malaise. In the medical context, there are a number of potential causes for the symptom, and it can be difficult to pinpoint just what the problem is in many cases, although the symptom can still be useful in reaching a diagnosis.

1. Weakness

Patients will often describe malaise as though they feel weaker than they usually would. They may lack the energy and/or will to take part in any activities, even if they are energetic people usually. A lot of people with malaise might initially feel as though they are just having “one of those days,” with no suspicion that it might be down to a medical condition. In some cases, malaise will come on suddenly and without warning. At others, it might progress very gradually. For some people, the symptom will only be short-lived whereas for others, it can linger for weeks, or even months.


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