Guards rushed to save O.J. SIMPSON’s life as he collapsed with stroke-like symptoms at Nevada’s Love­lock Correctional Center recently, The ENQUIRER has learned.

The frightening incident left the fall­en football legend badly shaken, and he’s vowing to take better care of his health from now on, say sources.

O.J., who turns 65 in July, was talking with some of his fellow in­mates in the prison’s recreation area when his speech became slurred, an insider revealed. He then slumped over and fell off his chair, complaining of double vision and weakness in his arms.

“His buddies  were sure he suffered a stroke,” continued the insider. “The guards were so con­cerned they sounded the alarm and carried O.J. to his bunk while a doctor rushed from the prison hospital to help him.

“The guards were really wor­ried about O.J. Even they’ve been charmed by his charisma. He’s the star of the prison.”

O.J. has gained a considerable amount of weight since he be­gan serving a sentence of up to 33 years for armed robbery and other convictions in 2008. At the time of his incar­ceration, the 6-foot-2 former gridiron great weighed 235 pounds. Sources say he’s now tipping the scales at a whopping 283!

“O.J. doesn’t always take advantage of his time in the exercise yard,” the insider noted. “He spends most of his days in his cell or the rec room, watching TV or reading and eating a lot of junk food.”

After monitoring him for several days, prison doctors de­termined O.J. did not suffer a stroke, but rather a serious pre-stroke condition called a Transient Ischemic Attack, which mimics an actual stroke. They warned him he needed to change his eating and exercise habits immediately, said the insider.

“O.J. told a close friend, ‘I plan on living long enough to walk out of this prison one day. I’m taking this for real – I’m going to get in shape,’” said the in­sider.

Dr. Matthew Budoff, a cardiologist and profes­sor of medicine at UCLA School of Medicine, told The ENQUIRER that TIAs are often referred to as “mini-strokes.”

“Once a man fitting this description has a TIA, he is at an increased risk for a full-blown stroke,” the doctor warned. “The TIA means his arteries are full of plaque.

“He must not only change his lifestyle habits but also take ap­propriate anti-platelet medication such as aspirin or Plavix to prevent further strokes or a heart attack.”

According to another source, O.J. con­tinues to suffer headaches, a common symptom of TIAs if they are severe. And he’s beginning to realize he’s not invin­cible.

“Years of boozing and doing drugs have taken their toll, and he’s really scared now,” the source added. “He thought he was a goner, so he’s paying attention to his doctors, taking the medications they’ve prescribed and sticking to a healthy diet and exercise regimen.”