If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis infection, one of your first concerns may be where to locate the best specialists to assist you in managing your illness.
It’s possible that your healthcare provider or primary care physician has enough experience with viral hepatitis to offer you proper care if you happen to reside in a community where the condition is prevalent.
Most likely, you’ll want to consult a liver specialist, such as a hepatologist or a gastroenterologist, if you have any of these symptoms. Furthermore, if you have HIV co-infection, which is rather prevalent with some types of hepatitis infections, you may need to see an infectious disease specialist as well.
Making sure you have the greatest possible team of healthcare providers for your circumstance will be critical to ensuring you receive the best possible care.
In this article, Dr Gaurav Gupta, who provides one of the best liver transplants in Mumbai shares his views on “What to Look for When Choosing Liver Specialists”.
Dr Gaurav Gupta is currently employed by Fortis Hospitals at Mumbai, as the Director of the Liver Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery Departments. He has played a key role in the establishment of three liver transplant units in the state of Maharashtra.
In This Article
Primary Care Physicians are those who provide primary care to patients
However, even if your healthcare provider or primary care physician has limited experience in treating hepatitis and sends you to a liver specialist, they should still play an important part in the overall management of your illness.
To begin, they will assist you in making informed decisions regarding the most appropriate course of action for your care.
They will also act as a point of contact between you and your other doctors, including the hepatologist or gastroenterologist who will be your liver expert and, if necessary, an infectious disease specialist.
Your healthcare provider or primary care physician can serve in this position to ensure that all of your providers are on the same page and that there are no interruptions in your care.
Aside from that, your healthcare practitioner can assist you in setting goals for improving your overall health, which will be critical in determining how well you respond to therapy for your hepatitis virus infection.
As part of this, you may be asked to reduce your alcohol intake, deal with substance misuse, stay on track with your treatment, or be referred to mental health or social work services if you require them.
Is it better to see a gastroenterologist or a hepatologist?
Dr Gaurav Gupta is a premium doctor in Mumbai, he says that, when it comes to choosing a hepatitis expert, there are two options: a gastroenterologist or a hepatologist. Both are excellent possibilities.
Despite the fact that they are both certified to treat liver problems, their training has been acquired in slightly different ways. Understanding these distinctions can assist you in making an informed decision about which to select.
When it comes to internal medicine and gastroenterology, a gastroenterologist is a doctor who is board-certified in both fields.
It requires completion of a two- to three-year fellowship in gastroenterology, which entails in-depth research of illnesses affecting the digestive tract organs and is required for the latter credential (liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas, and gallbladder).
A hepatologist is a physician who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses of the liver, as well as those of the liver’s accompanying organs, such as the pancreas and gallbladder.
While common logic would suggest that a doctor who specialises in liver issues would be better prepared to treat hepatitis infections, this is not necessarily the case in reality.
However, while an expert in liver disease will be well-versed in both existing and experimental treatments, there is no compelling reason why a gastroenterologist should be preferred for the treatment of hepatitis C than a hepatologist in this situation.
Whatever type of specialist you choose, it’s critical to choose a healthcare professional who not only has the necessary credentials, but also someone with whom you can establish mutual trust and a level of transparency.
It is your right to ask any questions of a healthcare practitioner that you are considering to take over the care that will make you feel confident that they are both qualified and will be open and sensitive to your needs.
Specialist in infectious disease
Despite the fact that some liver specialists may have knowledge and experience in the treatment and management of HIV, the majority do not. If you have HIV and are co-infected with another virus, you should consult with an infectious disease specialist.
In addition, they will be able to prescribe the antiretroviral therapy that will be required to treat your HIV and will be able to ensure that any medications you are taking are not contraindicated for use with hepatitis drugs.
A specialist in infectious diseases can also keep track of your liver enzymes for you. This is done to ensure that your antiretroviral treatment does not produce any side effects that could have a negative influence on your liver function and that your HIV viral load is kept under control during the duration of your hepatitis treatment.
By doing so, you may be confident that you are receiving the safest and most effective treatment possible for your infections, says Dr Gaurav Gupta, one of the leading Doctors.