Hepatitis C: Help Your Doctor Help You
Good communication with your healthcare provider is key.
You and your doctor need to work as a team to keep you as healthy as possible. Here, seven tips to keep in mind:
- Tell your MD your medical history.
Your doctor needs to know about all aspects of your health in order to provide the best treatment.
- Be honest.
Tell your doctor about all the symptoms you are experiencing. This can help your doctor tell how well your liver is working. Your doctor may offer suggestions or prescribe medication to help you feel better.
- Discuss your options.
Standard treatment for hepatitis C includes a combination of several antiviral medicines. Your doctor will track your progress with blood tests. If there are still detectable levels of hepatitis C virus in your blood after treatment, he or she may try another course of treatment. If you don't understand something your doctor says, ask questions. Also ask how long a treatment will take, the benefits, side effects and rate of success, so you can make an informed decision.
- Get help to eat healthy.
Your food choices can have a big impact on your health. Your doctor can help you develop a diet that works for you.
- Check with your doctor before taking supplements and over-the-counter meds.
Certain supplements can interfere with how medication works for you. For example, vitamin A can be toxic in high doses. Also, let your doctor know about all the over-the-counter medications you are taking. Taking large amounts (2,000 mg a day) of acetaminophen (found in sinus medications and other drugs) can be toxic to the liver.
- Keep a journal.
In between visits, write down any symptoms and side effects you are experiencing. Also note how you feel treatment is progressing. Jot down questions you want to ask the doctor. This will make your next visit more productive.
- Be your own advocate.
Learn as much as you can about hepatitis C. Ask your doctor where you can get information so that you are always in the know about your disease.