Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

'Cosby' Actress Educates About Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Monday, October 13, 2008 - Stem Cell Guru

Remember Clair Huxtable of "The Cosby Show??" You remember, she was the lawyer as well as Supermom and married to Bill. One of the most popular TV shows in history and the reruns are still being shown as frequently as Law and Order on cable.

But back to Clair, as you may know, her real name is Phylicia Rashad. These days she is traveling around the United States trying to raise awareness of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

PAD is a disease that causes poor circulation in the legs because of fatty deposit (plaque) buildup in the lower arteries.

"That means there is poor circulation in the arteries leading to the heart and the brain," said Rashad, 60, who stopped by Miami Beach last week. "It doubles the risk of having a heart attack or stroke and quadruples the risk of dying from heart disease." It can also lead to gangrene and require amputation, a fate Rashad's aunt suffered.

The risk factors for peripheral artery disease are very similar to those of coronary artery disease.

The risk factors include:
  • diabetes,
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • smoking tobacco.
  • They also include less-specific potential symptoms such as pain in the legs, thighs, buttocks and cramping when walking or exercising.

P.A.D. is not something most doctors check for during physical examinations. Therefore, many people don't know about it. It is estimated that 75% of Americans don't know what PAD is. The test for PAD is fairly simple, and usually must be requested, measures the Ankle Brachial Pressure Index, or the ratio of the blood pressure in the arms to the ankle.

Rashad is campaigning not only to raise awareness of PAD, but also to lobby the doctors to make it part of regular health screenings.

The treatment for P.A.D. is also similar to that of heart disease. It includes exercise and a diet low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol, in addition to blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications. In extreme cases, stem cell therapy can be an alternative.

"Growing up, I remember thinking when people got older they developed diabetes "because" they got older, or ... a heart attack or stroke "because" they got older, not because there was a buildup of plaque in the arteries, not because there was an obstruction of flow in the blood in the arteries leading to the legs, not because there was P.A.D.," Rashad said. ""Make the connection: legs to heart to brain."

PAD is estimated to affect 8-12 million people in the United States. That isn't a small number. And if there is poor ciculation in the legs, there is a good chance there will be poor circulation in the coronary arteries too. So if you have a nagging pain in your leg or can't walk far without stopping to rest, please get it checked out as soon as possible.



Anonymous Sophia Jason said...

Pad or peripheral arterial disease is essentially a blockage of the arteries in the lower extremities.PAD can hinder a person’s ability to fight infections in their skin. The disease has been linked to diabetes,high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, but early treatment through lifestyle changes can prevent and often reverse the accumulation of plaque before it becomes a serious health threat.

5:10 PM  

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