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Liver Diseases in South Korea: A Pulse Check of the Public's Knowledge, Awareness, and Behaviors

 Hye Won Lee  ;  Myunghwa Kim  ;  Jin Youn  ;  Shikha Singh  ;  Sang Hoon Ahn 
 YONSEI MEDICAL JOURNAL, Vol.63(12) : 1088-1098, 2022-12 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adult ; Cross-Sectional Studies ; Heart Rate ; Hepatitis C* / diagnosis ; Humans ; Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* ; Republic of Korea
Hepatitis B ; awareness ; hepatitis C ; knowledge ; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Purpose: National surveys in Korea have spotlighted suboptimal levels of awareness among the public towards liver-related health and diseases, leading to progressive reform of national policies and education efforts. This study aimed to assess the status of the Korean public's knowledge towards liver-related diseases.

Materials and methods: A self-reported, cross-sectional, web-based questionnaire study was conducted between February-March 2020 among 1000 Korean adults. Questionnaire items assessed the knowledge, awareness, and behaviors towards liver-related health and diseases.

Results: About half (50.9%-52.1%) knew untreated/chronic viral hepatitis could lead to liver failure and/or cancer. Misconceptions pertaining to viral hepatitis transmission risks exist with only 26.3% knowing viral hepatitis B cannot be transmitted by dining with an infected individual. About one-fifth (22.2%) were aware of an available cure for viral hepatitis C. Less than half were aware of the risk factors associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), despite 72.4% and 49.5% having heard of fatty liver disease and NASH, respectively. More than one-third were unlikely to seek medical consultation even if exposed to viral hepatitis risk factors or upon diagnosis with a liver condition. Reasons for this low urgency included costs-related concerns, perceptions of being healthy, and the viewpoint that the condition is not life-threatening.

Conclusion: The public's knowledge towards liver-related diseases in Korea was found to be lacking, which could account for a lower sense of urgency towards screening and treatment. More efforts are needed to address misperceptions and dispel stigma in an effort to encourage pro-health seeking behaviors.
Appears in Collections:
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Internal Medicine (내과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Ahn, Sang Hoon(안상훈) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3629-4624
Lee, Hye Won(이혜원) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3552-3560
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