If you take medications for several chronic diseases, check with your doctor to make sure they aren’t working at cross purposes. In a study in the online journal PLOS ONE, one in five people over 65 were found to be taking a drug that can worsen a coexisting condition; this is called “therapeutic competition.”
Virtually all major chronic diseases—notably hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart failure, depression, osteoarthritis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—have potentially competing drug therapies.
For instance, certain beta blockers taken for hypertension may worsen COPD or diabetes. Many pain relievers (notably Celebrex) can raise blood pressure. In some cases, there may be alternative drugs that don’t exacerbate the coexisting disorder. If you also take dietary supplements, ask your doctor about them as well.