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A to Z Symptom: Malaise and Fatigue

Malaise and fatigue are common symptoms of a wide-ranging list of ailments.

  • Malaise refers to an overall feeling of discomfort and lack of well-being.
  • Fatigue is extreme tiredness and lack of energy or motivation for everyday activities.

More to Know

Malaise and fatigue often go hand-in-hand and indicate a person is ill or about to become ill. They can start slowly or appear suddenly depending upon the cause, and can be acute (short-lasting) or chronic (long-lasting).

Some common medical problems associated with malaise and fatigue include pneumonia, mononucleosis, the flu, Lyme disease, sleep apnea, blood disorders, congestive heart failure, kidney or liver disease, and diabetes. Psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety also can cause malaise and fatigue.

Sometimes, malaise and fatigue can be traced to bad health habits and lifestyle factors, including not getting enough sleep, alcohol abuse, an unhealthy diet, caffeine use, and inactivity. Certain medicines also can lead to overtiredness and a general ill feeling.

Keep in Mind

Malaise and fatigue are common symptoms that can be treated once the cause is known. Because they can indicate a more serious problem, however, anyone experiencing malaise or fatigue that can't be easily explained should see a doctor.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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