You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the liver (hepatologist).
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all your medications, vitamins and supplements.
- Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
- Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Are my liver problems likely temporary or chronic?
- What treatments are available?
- Should I stop taking certain medications or supplements?
- Should I avoid alcohol?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may make time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:
July 15, 2014
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they? Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Have you had a fever?
- Have you ever had your skin or eyes turn yellow?
- What medications and supplements do you take?
- How many days of the week do you drink alcohol? Do you have any tattoos?
- Does your job involve exposure to chemicals, blood or body fluids?
- Have you ever had a blood transfusion?
- Have you been told that you have had liver problems before?
- Has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with liver disease?
- Curry MP, et al. Hepatomegaly: Differential diagnosis and evaluation. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 25, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 25, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. When should cirrhosis be suspected? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Friedman LS. Approach to the patient with abnormal liver biochemical and function tests. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 25, 2014.
- Woreta TA, et al. Evaluation of abnormal liver tests. Medical Clinics of North America. 2014;98:1.
- AskMayoExpert. What is magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) and what are the indications for an MRE examination? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 25, 2014.
- Larson AM. Hepatotoxicity due to herbal medications and dietary supplements. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 25, 2014.
- Viral hepatitis: A through E and beyond. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/viralhepatitis/index.aspx. Accessed March 25, 2014.