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Cigna 2017

Mom and veteran Tamika Quinn thought she was untouchable in her 20s — until she had two strokes back-to-back.

The first occurred on the right side of her brain, initially paralyzing the left side of her body. The second hit her frontal lobe. As a result, Tamika spent three and a half weeks recovering in intensive care. While she did regain her motor functions, the experience was a huge wake-up call for her.

"And to think it could've been prevented," Tamika recounts in the video below.


Tamika Quinn. All images via Cigna.

Earlier in life, Tamika had been diagnosed with high blood pressure but had brushed it off as a relatively unimportant statistic; it ran in her family. But it wasn't just genetics. Her family had limited access to things like fresh produce. As a result, less healthy and more convenient meals often became the norm in her house.

After she recovered, Tamika started walking more and eating healthier, home-cooked meals.

She encouraged her two daughters, Sequoia and Kashra, to do the same — especially Kashra, who was diagnosed with high cholesterol as a child.

Sequoia and Kashra.

"The switch for us was not eating as much fast food and going on a lot of walks," Sequoia recounts in the video.

Today, Tamika's an advocate for the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure network and actively spreads the preventive health message.  

"Any health issue that can be prevented should be," she wrote for You're the Cure. "Since we know that nutrition plays such a key role in later health, it’s well worth our passionate focus now."

Tamika also shares her health strategies through GLAM Girl Enterprises, the company she started to empower young women to better themselves.

Treating your body with care often starts with knowing what to pay attention to — such as your health numbers.

Tamika and her daughters.

And we're not talking about waist and hip measurements. Your four health numbers — blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and blood sugar — can offer important insight into how your body's doing. They're your doctor's starting point to determine what, if anything, you need to do to get your body's health back on track.

Taking steps toward taking care of ourselves before health issues arrive could have a big impact — on each of us and the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that "if everyone in the U.S. received recommended clinical preventive health care, we could save over 100,000 lives a year." That's pretty staggering.

As a result of what she went through, Tamika will never take her health for granted again.

She hopes her experience will inspire others to follow suit and prioritize preventive care. Because if they don't take care of their body, everything can come to a screeching halt.

"People will take their car to get an oil change or a tune up," Tamika explains below. "Your body is way more important than your car."

Watch Tamika's entire health journey here:

She was 27 and feeling invincible. Then she had a stroke.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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