Questions to Ask Your Liver Specialist
You can prepare ahead for your next doctor’s appointment by knowing what questions to ask that will help you understand your condition and treatment. If helpful, ask a family member or friend to go with you or record your conversation with your doctor or nurse to help you remember their answers.
Testing and diagnosis
Here are some questions about testing and diagnosis:
- What tests are you going to do, and why?
- Can you tell how long I’ve had hepatitis C? Is it chronic or acute?
- What do liver enzymes mean? What are mine? Does this indicate the condition of my liver?
- Do you know my genotype? What treatment do you recommend for my specific genotype and liver condition?
- Can you tell if I have liver damage? If so, how much?
- Does the doctor recommend I have a liver biopsy or Fibroscan?
- Does my family need to be tested for hepatitis C?
Here are some questions about choosing a treatment:
- Will I need treatment? What treatment will work best for my genotype and liver condition?
- How long is this treatment? What are the possible side effects? What can I do for side effects if they occur?
- Are there any dangers symptoms I need to be aware of?
- Which tests will I need to do during and after treatment?
- Will this treatment cause a problem with other medications I am taking?
- Is there a possibility this treatment could cause a problem with another medical condition I have?
- When will I know if treatment is working?
- Can I work and do every-day and routine activities while taking treatment?
- Am I at risk for cirrhosis, liver cancer, or other complications?
Preparing for treatment
Here are some questions about getting ready for treatment:
- What vaccines do I need prior to starting treatment? Do the people I live with need vaccines also?
- Do I need to stop any medications or anything else?
- Do you recommend I lose weight or maintain a special diet for my liver condition?
- Does my treatment require I take it with food?
- When can I start treatment?
Life and family planning
Lastly, don't forget:
- How do I talk to my spouse, family, friends, boss, and co-workers about my hepatitis C and treatment?
- How often do I need physical exams, bloodwork, and other tests?
- We would like to start a family. Do you recommend we wait until after treatment, and if so, how long should we wait? Will hepatitis C treatment impact us getting pregnant?
- What do you recommend for safer sex practices to prevent transmitting hep C?
Ask the doctor or nurse if they have any literature about hepatitis C and treatment, if not, ask where you can obtain credible information. Asking questions and getting answers takes the fear out of not knowing and equips you with answers and a direction for what you need to do.
Do you experience long-term side effects from hep C treatment?