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Hepatitis literally means inflammation of hepatocyte tissues. There are many diseases that can occur in the liver, but the most common ones are acute viral hepatitis, chronic and persistent cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis
There are five types of hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, E, and G. Only B, C, and D types may cause chronic liver disease. Hepatitis B virus is the most common cause of chronic liver diseases in Korea, and about 7% of Korean adults have hepatitis B virus. About 1% of Korean adults have hepatitis C, but fortunately, hepatitis D is rare in Korea.
When the hepatitis virus enters the body, it enters the liver cells, reproduces, and fights against immune cells, which destroys the liver cells and damages the liver function.
  • · Chronic hepatitis

    If hepatocytes are destroyed for a long time due to chronic hepatitis, fibers and regenerative nodules enter and progress to liver cirrhosis. If the wound is severe, it becomes like a scar on the skin. Just as skin scars cannot be restored to normal skin, liver cirrhosis cannot be recovered to normal liver tissue. If cirrhosis is severe, not only liver failure symptoms such as jaundice or general weakness but also complications such as ascites, hepatic coma, and esophageal varices bleeding may occur and cause death.
  • · Liver cancer

    Since 80% of liver cancer patients are found to be already in the state of cirrhosis, it is alleged that cirrhosis progresses to liver cancer. Liver cancer is the third most common cancer in Korean men. 70% of liver cancers are hepatitis B, and 20% are hepatitis C. Because liver cancer often progresses without any symptoms, cirrhosis patients should regularly undergo cancer serology and ultrasonography for early detection.
  • · Acute liver diseases

    Acute liver diseases are mainly caused by hepatitis virus. Consumption of alcohol and drugs and bacterial and parasitic infections are also risk factors. Symptoms usually are runny nose, body aches, fever, joint pain, loss of appetite, and vomiting that continue for 1 to 2 weeks. In the case of acute hepatitis, it takes about 3 to 4 months to recover, and once you get sick, your body will eventually have immune antibodies and you will never get the same type of hepatitis again. Once the diseases appear, your urine may be brownish. As 80-90% of cases do not have jaundice, it is easy to miss the optimal treatment period. With enough time for rest, 95% of patients with acute liver diseases can recover within weeks to 4 months, but in severe cases, 0.5% of acute patients can die, and the remaining 4.5% turn into chronic hepatitis.
Hepatitis virus B.C.D are mainly caused by blood infection, and type A and E are caused by water-borne infection, so proper vaccination and hygiene are most important in their prevention.