8 Questions to Ask About Hepatitis Treatment

doctor and patient talking 300x200 8 Questions to Ask  About Hepatitis Treatment PhotoHepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, is a worldwide problem, with more than 400 million people living with some form of hepatitis today.The good news, however, is that there are a host of effective treatments and means of prevention.

However, with five primary types of hepatitis, knowing what a hepatitis diagnosis means can be intimidating. If you’ve been diagnosed with hepatitis, here are eight questions to your doctor, so you can find the right course of treatment.

1. What kind of hepatitis do I have?

There are five primary types of hepatitis—A, B, C, D and E. In the United States, the most common types are Hepatitis A, B and C. As many as 5.3 million Americans have chronic Hepatitis B or C, and about 75 percent of them don’t know they’re infected. Knowing which type of hepatitis you have is the first step toward finding an effective treatment.

2. Am I at risk for further infections?

Talk to your doctor about what other complications could arise from your hepatitis infection. For example, those with hepatitis B can also go on to acquire hepatitis D, which can lead to further liver problems.

3. What kind of treatment will I need?

With hepatitis A and B typically no treatment is necessary; viral medications are often used to treat hepatitis C. Talk to your doctor about the most effective treatment plan for you.

4. Are there any side effects of the treatment?

From fever and chills to hair loss and depression, there are a number of side effects that can result from hepatitis treatment. Make sure you understand what you may face and in which cases you need to seek further treatment.

5. Are natural remedies an option?

If you have hepatitis C, you may want to discuss alternative therapies with your doctor either as a supplement or replacement for other treatments. From herbs to yoga, acupuncture and breathing experiences, there is some evidence alternative treatments may help those with hepatitis, however, it’s important that your doctor knows of and approves of the use of any of them.

6. What drugs should I avoid?

There are a host of drugs—over-the-counter, recreational and prescription—that can be problematic for those with hepatitis. They include everything from acetaminophen to antibiotics. Make sure you get a complete list from your doctor of those to avoid and for how long.

7. Should I be vaccinated against other types of hepatitis?

While there are no vaccines for some types of hepatitis, there are safe and effective ones for others. Talk to your doctor about which ones you may need.

8. What are the long-term effects of hepatitis on my health?

Are you at risk for a recurrence? What impact has it had and will it continue to have on your health with or without treatment? For example with hepatitis A, once you get the disease you develop antibiotics that should protect you for life.