Building Your Hepatitis C Healthcare Team
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.
Let's address some common questions about different types of doctors for hepatitis C and liver disease.
Why is it important to 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 you be under the care of your 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.
What is the need for 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 what foods are good for your liver and the amounts you need to eat.
Alternative treatment and supplements for hep C
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.
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.
Another good thing to remember is to make sure to sign up if your medical team offers 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.
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