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ICD-10 R53
ICD-9 780.7
MedlinePlus 003089
eMedicine topic list

Malaise (/məˈlz/ muh-LAZE) is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, of being "out of sorts," often the first indication of an infection or other disease. Malaise is often defined in medical literature as a "general feeling of being unwell." The word has existed in the French language since at least the 12th century.

The term is also often used figuratively in other contexts; for example, "economic malaise" refers to an economy that is stagnant or in recession (compare depression). The term is particularly associated with the 1973–75 recession.[1] A speech made by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 is commonly referred to as the "malaise" speech, even though Carter did not actually use the term in this speech.


Malaise is a highly non-specific symptom and causes can range from the slightest ailment, such as an emotion (causing vasovagal response) or hunger (light hypoglycemia), to the most serious (cancer, stroke, heart attack, internal bleeding, etc.).

Generally speaking, malaise expresses a patient's feeling that "something is not right," like a general warning signal, but only a medical examination can determine the cause.

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Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ One example can be found in The Next 200 Years: A Scenario for America and the World, by Herman Kahn et al., published in 1976, p. 2.

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