What is malaise? Malaise is a general feeling of being unwell, either emotionally or physically, or a combination of the two. Almost any medical or emotional condition can bring on feelings of malaise. Long-term (chronic) conditions, such as anemia (low red blood cell count) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), may cause malaise in addition to such conditions as infections, cancers, arthritis, kidney diseases, lung diseases, or other illnesses. Short-term (acute) conditions, such as a urinary tract infection or viral respiratory infection, may also lead to malaise. Malaise can be associated with depression and fatigue. Depression is defined as feeling blue, miserable or sad. You may occasionally experience mild depression and that is normal. Fatigue is characterized by a lack of energy and feeling tired. Again, you may occasionally experience mild fatigue and this is normal. However, long-term depression, often called clinical depression, and chronic fatigue can be characterized as malaise and may indicate more serious emotional or psychological problems. Stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet are all factors that worsen malaise. Malaise that is related to an acute condition, such as an illness that is caused by an infection, may require emergency attention. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience malaise along with other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or cramping, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) and chills, chest pain or pressure, muscle weakness or paralysis, or difficulty breathing. Seek prompt medical care if you experience enduring malaise to determine whether your malaise is related to a chronic medical condition.