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How to Build Your Healthcare Team for Hepatitis C

One of the most proactive steps you can take is to build your healthcare team for hepatitis C and liver disease. You are the captain, and head of your team.

If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis C by your primary care physician, they are part of your healthcare team, but ask for recommendations to see a liver specialist. Medical professionals that specialize in liver disease are hepatologists and gastroenterologists. Registered Dietitians can help patients with a specific diet suited for their liver condition.

Common questions

Let’s address some common questions about different types of doctors for hepatitis C and liver disease.

Why is it important that I see a liver specialist?

Hepatologists and gastroenterologists specialize in liver disease, with up to date testing and treatment, which can help you with hepatitis C and any liver disease or related conditions.

Can I be under the care of my gastroenterologist and a hepatologist for the same condition?

Yes, you can. If you have been diagnosed by your gastroenterologist and they would like to consult with a hepatologist, they can work together in your care.

Why would I need to see a registered dietitian?

It’s not a must to see a registered dietitian, but it is highly recommended if you have advanced scarring like cirrhosis or another condition like diabetes or a heart condition while dealing with hepatitis C.

Registered dietitians are professionals who specialize in working with patients with liver conditions like hepatitis c, cirrhosis, diabetes, and heart conditions. They can help you with a diet plan that’s best for your condition. They can help you learn what to avoid and what foods are good for your liver and the amounts you need to eat.

Alternative treatment and supplements

Be cautious with alternative treatments or liver supplements. Many of these may claim to help your liver, but they are not regulated and have not gone through clinical research to prove their claims or the amount of what is in their product is really there. Many of these can harm the liver and make your condition worse.

Have concerns?

If you have a bad experience with someone on your healthcare team, remember you have the right, as a patient, to change physicians or report a problem.

Remember, you are the head of your healthcare team. It’s important that you ask your physician, nurses, and team questions, and then get answers. They can’t read your mind, so voice your concerns.

Make sure to sign up if they offer a patient portal where you can access your medical records and test results. Many patient portals allow you to send messages to your physician’s nurse and physician. Good communication is key to a good healthcare team.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Susan Simon moderator
    1 month ago

    Another excellent choice for a physician to oversee hepatitis C patients is the infectious disease doctor. They know more about viruses than the liver docs. And each can collaborate with the other if need be. Dr. Gish, a well known hepatologist, also believes that primary care providers are qualified to take care of uncomplicated HCV issues and treatment. ~ Sue, Community Moderator

  • Connie Welch moderator author
    1 month ago

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for sharing. Infectious disease physicians are another good choice. I highly recommend going to a qualified specialist though and not a GP for issues with liver disease and treatment. I know many GP’s who are not up to date with treatments and conditions associated with hepatitis C. But GP are good to have on your healthcare team along with a specialist for sure.

  • Connie Welch moderator author
    1 month ago

    Hi Susan,
    I totally understand. It’s true, if patients do not have access to a liver specialist and their GP is willing to consult with a specialist, as long as their receiving good care that is the bottom line.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Connie-Author, Moderator

  • Susan Simon moderator
    1 month ago

    I advocate for the specialist, as well. However, in many parts of the country there are no specialists near enough to a patient with hepatitis C. Some communities that have no specialists are doing telemedicine which I believe started in the Hazard, KY area. So, a viable option for patients who may live many hours from a gastro doc, etc., is a primary care physician who will consult with a specialist. This is especially true for patients who do not have late stage disease. ~ Sue, Community Moderator

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