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Decompensation is the functional deterioration of a previously working structure or system. Decompensation may occur due to fatigue, stress, illness, or old age. When a system is "compensated", it is able to function despite stressors or defects. Decompensation describes an inability to compensate for these deficiencies. It is a general term commonly used in medicine to describe a variety of situations.

For example, cardiac decompensation may refer to the failure of the heart to maintain adequate blood circulation, after long-standing (previously compensated) vascular disease (see heart failure).

In psychiatry, decompensation is the deterioration of mental health in a patient with previously maintained psychiatric illness, leading to a diminished ability to think and carry on daily activities. This includes loss of memory, both long term and short.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Decompensation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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