What is Hepatitis

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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 illness?

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 others?

7. What complications am I at risk for and at what stage of the disease?

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 experimental therapies.

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 insurance?

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 drugs?

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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