Drug side effects make you worse

If meds are supposed to make you better, why do so many of them leave you feeling as if you're at death's door?

One reason, of course, is that many of today's most commonly used drugs aren't all they've cracked up to be. They don't work well, and even when they do they can pack enough drug side effects to make you regret taking them.

A good doctor might even warn you about those risks.

But there's another reason drugs can make you feel worse that your doctor almost certainly won't warn you about -- because he's not aware of it himself.

And this is a case where ignorance definitely isn't bliss, because the drugs he prescribes for one disease can actually cause other conditions to get worse.

Sadly, this isn't rare. It's all too common, with more than 1 in 5 seniors fighting multiple health conditions on a drug that's making one of those conditions worse, according to a new study.

One common example: the beta blockers given to many patients with heart disease can actually worsen chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by increasing resistance in the airways.

But that's hardly the only case.

You name the disease, there's a drug out there that can turn it into a nightmare -- because common meds can worsen arthritis, diabetes, dementia, heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.

Odds are, you or someone you know is taking one of these meds, because the new study published in PLoS One finds that 22.6 percent of seniors with multiple ailments are on meds for one disease that are known to make another one worse.

That means there are two actions you need to take today.

First, if you're being treated for chronic health problems of your own and find that at least one of seems to be getting worse, speak to your doctor about the possibility that it's your drug side effects.

Make him do some homework and find other treatment options (and if he won't, see another doctor).

And second, whether you're facing chronic health problems or just hoping to avoid them, the study shows why it's always better to seek nondrug treatments first -- because many conditions can be eased or corrected with natural remedies that won't cause more problems than they solve.

That's why I always recommend working closely with an experienced holistic medical doctor.