Hepatology is a specialised discipline that deals specifically with diseases of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas. Liver diseases are common, and some remain undetected until complications occur. Patients may be unaware of the disease until they experience severe complications such as ascites, variceal bleeding, encephalopathy and liver cancer. Most liver diseases can be treated if detected early. Liver diseases include chronic viral hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, drug-induced liver diseases, Wilson’s disease, haemochromatosis, alcoholic liver disease and Non-Alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which is increasingly recognised worldwide and is now the most common liver disorder in countries where the major risk factors for NAFLD such as obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and metabolic syndrome are common. Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and C (CHC) are both prevalent in this region and can lead to liver cancer if left untreated. Patients with both CHB and CHC have to be followed up regularly to detect disease progression and early signs of liver cancer. Up to 80% of liver cancers can be attributed to either hepatitis B or Hepatitis C virus. Early detection and prompt intervention can prolong survival and improve the quality of life.
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