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Exercise May Lower Risk of Second Stroke

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About 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year. Now there's new evidence that victims can cut the risk of a second stroke.

Three years ago, Betty Porter suffered a major stroke that paralyzed her right side.

Betty Porter: "It was devastating, it really was. It was like someone knocking your feet out from under you and you couldn't get up."

But Betty is up and on her feet, thanks to physical therapy.

In order to prevent a recurrent stroke, she's following new guidelines issued by the American Heart Association. The guidelines stress the benefits of exercise for stroke survivors and recommend at least twenty minutes of aerobic exercise three to seven days a week.

Robert Adams, M.D./ American Stroke Association: "Exercise can heal, reduce heart attack or stroke by reducing cholesterol, and helping with the control of weight."

Betty Porter: "After I started working out, parts of me started working better. Maybe there is a little hope here."

Taking your meds? Yes everyday.

The new guidelines also recommend patients with a history of ischemic stroke or transient ischemic strokes, called tia's, consider using statins.

"This new class of drugs, statins, provide an important new way for us to reduce heart attack and stroke."

"Most members of my family died. I'm 70 and pushing, and I feel with the care that I'm getting from doctors, that I will live longer."

Stroke patients need to undergo a complete physical exam and medical history before beginning any exercise program.

Here are some warning signs of strokes:

A sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, expecially on one side of the body; trouble in either speaking or understanding what someone is saying. Sudden trouble in walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination. And/or a sudden severe headache with no known cause.

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