Talking to Your Doctor About Cirrhosis

Talking to Your Doctor About Cirrhosis

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with cirrhosis. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
  • Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk of Getting Cirrhosis

  • What is cirrhosis?
  • How do I know if I have cirrhosis?
  • Am I at risk based on my health history, lifestyle, and family background?
  • How do I know if someone in my family had or has cirrhosis?
  • What physical signs or symptoms should I look for?
  • Am I taking any medicine that puts me at higher risk for getting cirrhosis?
  • How do I best prevent cirrhosis?

About Treatment Options

  • What is my best treatment option?
  • What medicines might help me?
    • What are the benefits and side effects?
    • Will these medicines cause problems with other medicines, over the counter products, or supplements that I take?
  • Are the medicines I am taking for other conditions safe to take now that I have cirrhosis?
  • What surgical options other than transplant are there?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Is it safe to drink any alcohol?
  • How much protein is enough?
  • Can vitamin or mineral supplement help?
  • Should I lower my salt intake?
  • Can you refer me to a dietitian to help with meal planning?

About Your Outlook

  • How do I know that my prevention or treatment program is working?
  • Will you monitor my liver enzymes?
  • Can you refer me to a support group?
  • Will I need a liver transplant?
  • What is my one-year outlook? Five-year?
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References:

Cirrhosis of the liver. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cirrhosis-of-the-liver-31. Accessed January 5, 2021.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed January 4, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 1/8/2021

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