What is malaise?

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Malaise is a certain feeling of uneasiness or discomfort. A person who is in malaise usually experience being slightly unwell or “out of sorts.” Oftentimes, doctors treat malaise as an indication of infection or other diseases.

Malaise has no particular symptom and is one of the gray areas in health and medicine. However, numerous diseases are suspected to be its source. These include bronchitis, infectious mononucleosis (EBV), colds, influenza, and Lyme disease. Malaise can last for about a week or even more depending on the type of disease a person is suffering from. Long term malaise can develop from chronic diseases like hepatitis, tuberculosis, and AIDS. Other causes of malaise include depression, dysthymia, anemia, and cancer. Since malaise can be so unpredictable, individuals who suspect that they have malaise are advised to visit their physician in order to have a proper diagnosis.

A person who is suspected to have malaise basically undergoes certain medical tests and x-ray to determine other factors that may have caused it. The doctor will also conduct background medical check and ask relevant questions about how a person is feeling. Malaise may be treated through anticonvulsant or anti-seizure medication, antihistamines and beta blockers. Severe malaise may need psychiatric intervention or counseling.

Aside from its medical usage, the term malaise is also used in economics. For instance, economic malaise refers to the sluggish recession in the economy or long duration of economic growth.

Malaise can also be attributed to the speech of American President Jimmy Carter in 1979. When he realized that the audience was no longer listening, he cracked a truth about the real threat to the US economy and the people started to become attentive. Although he did not mention the word “malaise” in his speech, its impact in the US has made it known as such.

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