Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, visit your primary care doctor. If your doctor suspects that you have an enlarged liver, he or she may order additional tests and and then refer you to the appropriate specialist. If you have a liver disease, you may be referred to a specialist in liver problems (hepatologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and there's a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be prepared.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may recall something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions
Questions to ask your doctor
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your appointment. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes for my enlarged liver?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Are there other treatment options?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Will I need follow-up visits?
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00043-4--s0450&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&sid=1264123271&uniqId=316059410-4#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..00043-4--s0450. Accessed Feb. 8, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1604-7.00148-2&isbn=978-1-4377-1604-7&sid=1264125672&uniqId=316059410-4#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1604-7..00148-2. Accessed Feb. 8, 2012.
- Wolf AD, et al. Hepatomegaly in neonates and children. Pediatrics in Review. 2000;21:303.
- Managing your medications. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/mym. Accessed Feb. 8, 2012.
- Seeff LB. Herbal hepatoxicity. Clinics in Liver Disease. 2007;11:577.
- Talwani R, et al. Infectious diseases and the liver. Clinics in Liver Disease. 2011;15:111.
- Liver health and wellness. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/liverhealth. Accessed Feb. 8, 2012.
- Nguyen D, et al. Noninvasive assessment of liver fibrosis. Hepatology. 2011;53:2107.
- Ehman RL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 1, 2012.