Many people have more than one long-term (chronic) health problem. You may be one of them. For example, you may have high blood pressure and diabetes, or you may have high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure. When you have more than one problem, doctors call the health problems comorbidities.
One health problem may lead to another, causing the comorbidity. For example, diabetes can damage the lining of your blood vessels. This can lead to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and a heart attack. And a heart attack can lead to heart failure.
You also may have health problems that are not linked to each other, such as COPD and diabetes.
When you have more than one health problem, you have different health care needs. One disease can make another disease worse, and the total effect of all the diseases may be more than each on its own.
You also may have more symptoms and may need more treatment and medicines. You most likely will have to do more to take care of your health.
You may need to see more than one doctor and may need more than one treatment and medicine.
This topic will explore what you can do to help yourself when you have more than one health problem.