SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR
1. Is there a possibility the diagnosis is incorrect? It does
happen occasionally you know.
2. Are there any tests (or additional) tests available to
confirm the diagnosis or to show the severity of the illness?
3. What organs of my body are involved and in what way? Will the
damage to these organs be progressive? If the damage will be
progressive, be sure to ask the usual time course over which this
occurs. Ask for drawings and down-to-earth terms to help you better
understand what is going on with your body.
4. What other organs of my body can I expect to become involved
as a consequence of the illness?
5. What are the possible ways I could have gotten this
6. What are the possibilities of my passing this illness on to
others, and in what ways? Should I worry about my family catching
it? What about sexual transmission? How can I minimize the risk to
7. What complications am I at risk for and at what stage of the
8. What symptoms or change in symptoms should I be concerned
about? You need to gain some perspective on your illness and not
become obsessed with every little ache and pain or change in
symptoms. Find out which symptoms are important, and which you need
to watch out for.
9. Are there any organizations that can provide more information
about my illness or help with the problems that result from my
disease? There is a national organization (in the U.S.) dealing
specifically with liver disease called "The American Liver
Foundation," 998 Pompton Ave, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009, (800)
223-0179. In Canada there is "The Canadian Liver Foundation," 42
Charles St, Toronto, Ontario M4Y1T4 (416)964-1953. These
organizations can provide you with literature and advice concerning
your hepatitis. There may also be local support groups which your
doctor can direct you to. He may also know of certain medical
centers and research facilities who have compiled sources of
information about your disease or who can inform you of new or
10. What medications are available to control the disease? Do
you ever conduct or can you refer me to someone who performs
experimental or research trials?
11. What are the risks and benefits of taking this medication at
this point in my illness?
12. If I am unable to tolerate this medication or if it is
ineffective, are alternative therapies available?
13. How will I know if I am responding to treatment and how long
will I need treatment?
14. Is transplant an alternative at my stage of the illness?
Would you or when would you recommend it?
15. Are there diet changes or other measures I can take to
lessen the effects of the disease?
16. How frequently do I need to be seen by a doctor?
17. How do I contact you in an emergency?
18. Can I do any home monitoring of my illness that might reduce
the need for office visits?
19. Will I be able to continue working?
20. Can I expect to have to take many sick days?
21. Will this illness affect my ability to obtain life or health
22. Ask questions about the specific hobbies, sports, family and
social activities that the disease may have an effect on.
23. Will the drugs I am taking interact with other medications
or impair my ability to have sex?
24. What are your recommendations regarding alcohol, smoking,
aspirin/tylenol/motrin, other prescription or non-prescription
25. Will the illness or the treatment interfere with my ability
to have children?
26. Will the disease or the treatment be disfiguring? (Weight
gain/loss, hair loss, etc.)
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