Preparing for Your Physician’s Appointment

Be proactive in gaining the knowledge you and your caregiver need to help you with hepatitis C and liver disease. Here's my advice for preparing for an appointment with your physician:

Steps to get stated

To get ready...

  • Bring a list of all medications, vitamins, and supplements you take with the amount and when you take them.
  • Talk to your doctor and healthcare team about your total medical condition.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor. You may think you’ll remember without your list, but you’ll be reviewing medications, test results, and physical exams. A list helps you remember everything you need to ask.
  • Ask a family member or friend to go with you when you talk to your doctor. They can take notes and be another set of ears to hear what is said. They may think of questions to ask that you’ve not thought of. And, the bonus of support is always good.

Questions if newly diagnosed

For people who were recently diagnosed with hepatitis C, here are some good questions to ask:

  • What types of tests will I need? What do they mean? How often will I need tests?
  • What are my liver enzymes? Does this show my liver condition?
  • What hepatitis C virus strain (genotype) do I have? What treatment options do I have?
  • What tests will determine if I have liver damage?
  • Do you know if I have any liver damage and how much?

Questions to ask for treatment

Here are some treatment-related questions to ask...

  • What treatment do you recommend for my liver condition?
  • How long is this treatment?
  • Will this treatment work against other medicine that I take?
  • Will treatment cause any problems with my other medical conditions?
  • When will I know if treatment is successful?
  • If I receive a non-detected blood test result, does this mean I can stop treatment early?
  • What symptoms and side effects should I be aware of?
  • Can I continue to work and keep a normal schedule while I’m on treatment?
  • When can I start treatment?

General questions

Here are some general questions to ask the doctor...

  • Are there any vaccinations I need, like hep A and B, or the flu shot? Do those I live with need vaccinations also?
  • Am I in danger of developing severe liver damage like cirrhosis or cancer?
  • If I have cirrhosis and taking medication for that, do I stop these if I’m cured of hepatitis C treatment?
  • Will I need to come to the doctor’s office during treatment for exams and tests?
  • What type of things should I avoid? Is alcohol of any type safe for me to drink?
  • Is there a certain diet I need to be on? Do you recommend I lose any weight? If so, how much?
  • Do you recommend my family to be tested for hepatitis C?
  • What are the chances of passing hepatitis C onto an unborn child? Would treatment harm the baby if I were pregnant? Should we wait until after treatment to get pregnant? If so, how long?
  • Do you recommend safe sex to prevent someone from contracting hepatitis C?
  • Do I have to tell others about my hepatitis C? Do you have any recommendations on how I can talk to them about it?

Gain the knowledge you need by asking your physician questions about your condition.

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