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The Phylicia Rashad Interview (Page 1 of 2)

An Interview with Phylicia Rashad

Phylicia RashadPhylicia Rashad, actor, producer, writer, is possibly most recognized for her stellar role as Clair Olivia Hanks Huxtable, the wife/partner of Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable (Bill Cosby) on The Cosby Show.

Ms. Rashad has recently taken on a new role in raising awareness of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), a condition that affects about eight million Americans and puts them at more than double the risk of heart attack or stroke.  Editor-in-Chief Gary Barg recently sat down with Ms. Rashad for a frank, funny and wide-ranging interview.  Who could expect less from Mrs. Huxtable?

Gary Barg:  What should people know about PAD?

Phylicia Rashad:  That the people who are at greatest risk for developing PAD are those with diabetes who are over 50 years old, who have hypertension, high cholesterol, people who are heavy smokers, people over 70; people with a history of heart attack or a stroke in their family.

GB:  How has PAD affected your family?

PR:  When I did hear about PAD, I thought about my father immediately, because my father had diabetes and he died of a heart attack. Then I continued to read about PAD and I remember the moment that I read about one of the common symptoms, cramping in the legs. My dad used to complain about that. His legs would cramp and we thought it was because he had been practicing dentistry for almost 35 years, standing up the whole time because he refused to sit down. You could attribute it to that. Oftentimes when people have discomfort in their legs, it is attributed to being tired, or they think, “I have been standing too long” or “I am getting older,” not considering that there could be a cardiovascular problem at the root of this.

GB:  It sounds like it makes a lot of sense to educate yourself about the risk factors and then be in honest communication with your loved ones to determine if they are at risk.

PR:  If you have these risk factors, or if you just want to know, you can ask for the A.B.I. test. That is the Ankle-Brachial Index test which involves taking the blood pressure at both arms and then at both ankles.  The diagnosis for PAD is significant in that PAD is a warning there is poor circulation in your arteries in your legs.   If there is, there is poor circulation in arteries leading to the heart and to the brain.

GB:  So in all things, knowledge in this case is power.

PR:  Knowledge is power.

GB:  What is a PAD hotspot?

PR:  A PAD hotspot is an area in which there is a prevalence of PAD diagnosis, or people who are at risk.


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