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Three Hours After the Attack is the Golden Time [발병 후 3시간 ‘골든타임’이 생사 가른다/뇌혈관센터 최종원 과장]


Three Hours After the Attack is the Golden Time

Stroke is a disease in which blood vessels that supply blood to the brain are blocked (brain infarction) or have exploded (cerebral hemorrhage), causing brain damage and, depending on the extent, death or physical disability. Currently, it is the number one cause of death in  Korea being over 34%, and it is a terrible disease in which victims suffer from sequelae such as paraplegia and speech impairment.
As our society enters an aging society, an rise in stroke patients is expected. Due to the recent westernization of eating habits and increased drinking, smoking and obesity amongst younger people, strokes are occurring at younger ages than before, and strokes are no longer limited to the elderly.

# A stroke's Golden Time is 3 hours after symptoms occur

If the brain damage due to stroke is not properly treated, the extent of the disease becomes worse as time passes, and treatment will not be effective after a certain period of time. In other words, early medical treatment is of utmost important after a stroke.

If a blocked blood vessel is pierced through within three hours, the stroke is as good as gone. If you have any of the five symptoms- unilateral paralysis, facial paralysis, speech impairment, gait disorder, and sudden severe headache, you should visit a hospital where cerebrovascular surgery is available and receive accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

However, there are cases when paralysis strikes for a while only to have the patient recover soon after. This symptom is called a transient ischemic attack. Although transient ischemic attacks are warnings or prognostic signs of cerebral infarction, the average person does not visit the hospital because they think they have cured it on their own. However, MRI scans often showcase substantial brain damage, even if symptoms had disappeared. There is a high risk of developing a cerebral infarction, which will leave permanent neurological deficits (language disorders, ataxia, paralysis, etc.) in the future.

Cerebral hemorrhage is caused by various causes, but cerebral aneurysm is a balloon-inflated part of the blood vessel wall, and most cases have no symptoms before rupture. However, it is a serious disease that can lead to death if ruptured thus emergency treatment is necessary, and treatment methods include coil embolization and arteriovenous malformation removal.

# Stroke prevention? Available!

The development of modern medicine has led to the development of treatments for many diseases, but stroke is still a major cause of disability and death. The brain is known to be a poorly regenerated organ once damaged, so if you have a way to avoid it, it's better not to go through a lifetime of strokes.

As a preventive measure of stroke, regular check-ups are recommended as doctors can identify stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. In addition, carotid artery stenosis and cerebral aneurysms, such as arteriovenous malformation to check the vascular status is also very helpful. Secondly, perform physical activity regularly  including more than 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. Third, prevent obesity through healthy eating habits. Fourth, you should refrain from drinking too much alcohol and quitting smoking is a must.

Because sudden strokes can have fatal consequences, strokes are called the “silent killer” that can strike anyone and not linked to one's quality of life. Prompt treatment is important, but sufficient prior understanding and prevention is even more important. Be aware of your usual stroke symptoms and you can stay healthy if you visit a hospital with a cerebrovascular center if you notice any symptoms.

Written with the help of Dr. Choi Jong Won of the Neurosurgery Department in Nasarent International Hospital (pictured above)
Published by Kiho Ilbo


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