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As a stroke survivor, you have two goals: Recover from the one you’ve had, and prevent another from occurring. Both are entirely possible. Start by believing and embracing that, and you’ll put yourself on a positive path to wellness.

Recovery: You Can Do It!
Recovering from a stroke takes determination, strength and emotional support. Keep in mind, however, that you still have a lot to work with: The brain contains 100 billion neurons — nerve cells that contain and transmit the information that makes your body function — and a typical stroke kills just 2 percent of them. Your brain can continue to learn — that is, activate those neurons and build new pathways between them, so that info (and you) keeps moving — for as long as you keep teaching it. Feed your brain well and challenge it with new tasks and it will continue to develop.

Prevention: Get with the Program
The best way to prevent a second stroke: Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. That means quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fruits, nuts and vegetables, and getting moderate exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week.

Wow Fact
Reduce your chances of a second stroke by 65 percent by getting your cholesterol and blood pressure to optimal levels (HDL cholesterol over 50; LDL cholesterol under 70; triglycerides under 150; blood pressure less than 120/80), says a 2009 study.

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