I am someone who seems to get under the weather quite a bit…I think it must be in my genetic makeup or perhaps due to my thyroid disorder. So today I thought we’d take a closer look at malaise – or feeling under the weather – which can either be nothing or a symptom of a number of health conditions and can occur in a number of illnesses. Malaise is commonly described as:
- Feeling weak
- Being in discomfort
- Feeling sick
- Feeling tired
- Lack of energy
Although feeling under the weather could be mistaken with generally feeling fatigued, it generally doesn’t go away and after proper rest, meaning that the uneasy feeling doesn’t surpass. Symptoms can present themselves unexpectedly as well as over time. Some people express this feeling as being ‘under the weather’ or that they’re ‘trying to fight something off’ whereby their body presents signs of increased fatigue and weakness.
Our local doctor in Prahran advised that malaise can be hard to treat, due to the fact that malaise is not necessarily the root cause, but a symptom of an underlying condition, such as depression, an illness or an infection. Therefore, in each individual case, it is important to seek professional medical advice rather than trying to self diagnose.
I don’t need to tell you that there are considerable problems with using Dr Google to diagnose yourself which can leave you feeling incredibly anxious – I know, I’ve been there many a time! For instance, malaises could fall under any other the below conditions, which has a huge variety and spectrum of other symptoms:
- Mental Illness
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Medication side effects
As you would have guessed, without talking to a medical professional, you may have given yourself a heart attack by searching these symptoms online. A general practitioner (GP) would generally start the examination trying to understand where the root cause of malaise in order to diagnose it – which thankfully most of the time, will usually not be anything too serious.
Your doctor will likely start with asking you some questions around when this started, and how long you have been experiencing it for, progressing into a deeper historical and physical exam. This is where face to face or at least where a two way conversation is important, there are pieces of information given that could be misconstrued by a computers interpretation. Furthermore, human interaction provides the ability to ask follow up questions to find out more information and enable a deeper understanding of your particular symptoms and root cause of you feeling under the weather. For example, foreign travel would be one example of a route of questioning a doctor could ask to establish whether you could have picked up a bug or infection which cause have caused you to feel under the weather.
The next area that a general practitioner would look to understand is the physical symptoms. These, coupled with the background information, will all the doctor to have a rounder opinion of the cause. Physical tests may be required to help the practitioner rule out certain illnesses. Depending on your history, they could range from a blood test like a complete blood count (CBC), which looks at your overall health by testing the percentage of red blood cells which are carrying oxygen around the body, to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test to rule out cancerous cells.
These tests would only be prescribed if there is a number of pieces of evidence pointing to these outcomes. Therefore, try not to let the ambiguity of feeling under the weather cause you unnecessary concern. It is very likely that symptoms will be linked to things like the common cold, rather than any of the examples portrayed above – something that I often have to remind myself of especially when the little seems to bring back so many germs with her from school!
This post is designed merely to help understand malaise and the recommended cause of action, which is to see your doctor and get a professional opinion. If in doubt, it’s always best to get checked out by your doctor…that’s what they are there for after all! Far better than losing sleep over it and getting stressed out by searching through millions of pages on Google which will naturally provide you with information overload and none the wiser.
Do you find yourself often feeling under the weather? Do you tend to take it in your stride or do you get worried that it could be something more serious? Do share in a comment below.
*This is a collaborative post
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