December 14, 2013

10 Questions You Should Ask If Diagnosed with Hepatitis C

Provided by Avail Clinical Research

Being told that you have hepatitis C can be extremely difficult. Patients often grapple with a wide range of emotions following this diagnosis – from denial or anger to depression. So what’s the best thing that a person can do in this scenario? They should learn as much as they can about hepatitis C, as it’ll make it much easier to cope and to continue living life well.

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A doctor will be able to explain the following upon receiving the diagnosis:

  • How hepatitis will affect the patient’s everyday life
  • The best contemporary treatments for hepatitis C
  • Lifestyle changes that will help manage symptoms for the long-run.

This can be a stressful experience, so we suggest having some questions written down beforehand. It’s also advisable to bring a loved one to the appointment for added support. Here are ten questions you should ask your doctor following the diagnosis.

1) Which hepatitis treatments are the best for me?

There are a variety of treatments available for HCV, and you’ll want to know all the risks and benefits before taking new medication. Don’t be afraid to continue nudging your doctor for more information. You need to be confident in the fact that you fully understand what they have told you.

2) Why the blood tests?

Hepatitis C often shows no physical symptoms. Blood tests allow doctors to monitor the viral activity in your bloodstream and determine the best treatments moving forward. Also ask your doctor whether you need to be immunized against hepatitis A and B.

3) What should I do to stay healthy?

Your doctor will provide plenty of information and advice about staying healthy with hepatitis C. This disease primarily attacks the liver – thus most recommendations are designed to protect this organ. Here are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy diet

4) What can I do to limit my risk of contracting HCV?

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1 in 5 patients with acute hepatitis will recover without any treatment or therapy. Unfortunately HCV adapts so rapidly that their body will not be able to develop an immunity against it. If you no longer show any viral activity, ask your doctor about what steps you can take to limit risk of contracting HCV again.

5) What over-the-counter medication should I avoid?

Discuss all other medications that you might be taking – supplements and vitamins included. Don’t lie about your alcohol habits or any other type of drug use.Hepatitis puts your liver in great jeopardy and lying here could be fatal.

6) Where can I go for support?

Being diagnosed with hepatitis can feel isolating, but you’re not alone. There are many amazing support groups that you can be connected with. Be sure to ask your doctor for some local referrals and resources.

7) What sort of diet should I follow?

There is no diet that has been designed specifically for hepatitis. Instead patients should adopt a more balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables and low in fatty, processed foods. Ask your doctor for some advice on creating a new shopping list to get you started.

8) How do I protect my liver?

This infectious disease is the number one cause of liver transplants. So hepatitis C patients will need to remove alcohol from their lives completely. Be sure to ask you doctor about other steps you can take to protect your liver specifically.

9) Are there clinical trials that I can take part in?

Hepatitis C clinical trials are working to develop better treatments. Ask your doctor if there are any opportunities in your area. There are numerous benefits to enrolling in a clinical trial:

  • Access to experimental therapies available nowhere else
  • Provided expert medical care
  • Compensation for your participation

10) How do I share this diagnosis with those I’m closest too?

This may be one of the hardest steps to take following such a diagnosis – as it is one of the most important. Remember that you don’t need to tell every person in your life about it, but that support of loved ones is essential. Hep C support groupscan help you make this step when you are ready.

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