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Diego Hernandez, MD
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
Vascular Specialist
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THE FACTS ABOUT Vascular Disease


Vascular disease is a complex problem, commonly affecting two types of blood vessels, the arteries and the veins, causing very different conditions. Although knowledge about arterial disease is becoming commonplace, it is interesting that venous problems do not attract a lot of publicity, yet these affect almost one-half of the U.S. population, mostly women, and can create symptoms that at times may be quite disabling.

Podcast Posted: 12/20/2011
The complex nature of these conditions often results in a lot of confusion. In an effort to provide outstanding care in this arena, St Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) is committed to not only enhancing the education of our community in all aspects of vascular care, but also to providing the most comprehensive management possible, including the use of the latest minimally invasive approaches to these problems.

In its most common form, vascular arterial disease affects the blood vessels supplying the brain and the legs. Restrictions to blood flow caused by the build-up of plaque, a complex mix of cholesterol and fat deposits, in the carotid arteries may predispose a patient to strokes, including transient or mini strokes that may cause limited or minimal damage. In the arteries supplying the legs, plaque may restrict blood flow to the point that it may cause leg pain or cramps with activity. This is known as PAD. In its advanced stages there may be such lack of circulation that the leg may become discolored and sores may not heal. Arterial disease can also manifest itself as aneurysms. Whereas restrictions of blood flow may result in pain, the breakdown of the wall of an artery results in a weakness that may then become an aneurysm, or ballooning of the artery, a condition that usually has no symptoms. Often associated with potential for rupture and death, aneurysms may produce other complications. Recent advancements allow us to treat these aneurysms with minimally invasive techniques, but every patient should discuss all of their options with a specialist, to ensure the most appropriate treatment.

Vascular venous disease may often be complex as well, ranging in conditions that are as common as varicose veins to concerning issues such as vein clots or Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVTs). Despite the current commercials that promise the treatment of varicose veins as simple, venous problems are often complex and if inadequately treated may result in life-long complications. There are sophisticated new approaches to treatment of varicose veins and vein clots, but only a vascular specialist is in a position to help you decide what the best option is for you. Vein centers often do not have this level of expertise.

Treatment options for both arterial and venous vascular conditions may often include lifestyle modifications or even some medications. However, these are complex problems that require appropriate diagnosis, and an adequate plan of action. As the treatment of these problems can have profound effects on a patient’s livelihood, it is important that questions are asked about all the available options as well the advantages of one technique over another. The implications of not having the right answers can be dramatic, but with effective treatment, one can achieve successful outcomes.

At SJMO, you can trust that you will be treated by a specialist who offers comprehensive and compassionate care in all aspects of these complex vascular problems. Be proactive with your health, and be certain that you speak to a specialist who is truly passionate about vascular disease.


Coronary Artery Bypass (CABG)
James Caralis, DO
Posted: 08/10/2007
Carotid Artery Disease
Nishit Choksi, MD
Posted: 05/09/2008
Emergency Angioplasty
Michele DeGregorio, MD
Posted: 08/10/2007
Why Minutes Count
Michele DeGregorio, MD
Posted: 08/10/2007
Heart Failure
Nitin Doshi, MD
Posted: 08/10/2007
Life After a Heart Attack
Willam Gordon, MD
Posted: 08/10/2007
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