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How to prevent a stroke: Watch one woman's story of recovery

Sandra Lara opened up to ABC10 about learning her lesson too late.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Doctors say there are three things that increase your chances of having a stroke: being overweight, smoking, and a lack of physical activity.

Sandra Lara opened up to ABC10 about learning her lesson too late.

“I was smoking, I was drinking, I just was not taking care of my body,” she said.

Lara suffered a stroke right around the holidays four years ago. It didn’t kill her, but it impacted her life dramatically, leaving her paralyzed on the right side of her body.

“That was my breaking point right there,” she said looking at a picture of herself. “That was the biggest I’ve ever been and that was when I woke up one day and I was like, I need to change my life."

Lara spent seven months in the hospital. She had to re-learn to walk, talk, and eat. Her only child was 15 at the time and devastated.

“I thought my whole world was crumbling and I didn't know if my mom was going to be here with me or not,” Jena Arehart said.

Four years later, the mother and daughter duo continue to take life one day at a time. They're making better choices together.

“Me and her would walk down to the corner store and we would get candy, ice creams, chips and that's what we would munch on usually. It was fine until her stroke happened and we realized that's not how we should be living,” Arehart said.

“And how I changed my lifestyle now is that I treat my body like a temple. I take care of myself, I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't do drugs. I eat healthier, I exercise, and I maintain my body because it's the only one that I have,” Lara said with a big smile on her face.

If you need a reason to get moving this weekend, join ABC10 Saturday morning at William Land Park for the Sacramento Heart and Stroke Walk.

The walk begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit SacramentoHeartWalk.org

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