image of woman with nice legs- varicose vein treatmentsA New You in the New Year

Happy New Year! As we all begin to set our goals and make plans to better ourselves in 2016, it’s a great time to consider showing your legs a little extra love with a simple, quick, and permanent varicose vein treatment. Just imagine—what would you do with your year if you had no pain? If you could wear whatever you want without hiding?

If you’re considering varicose vein treatment, good news—you’ve got a few really great options. Here’s a breakdown of the 3 major treatment options we offer and stand by:

Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)

Endovenous Laser Therapy, or EVLT, uses laser-light energy from within the affected vein(s) to seal the vein wall and close it. This allows other, healthier veins to take over. This simple procedure requires very little recovery time, with most patients getting back to life as usual within a few days.

Venefit Targeted Endovenous Therapy

The Venefit procedure is one of Dr. Bunker’s most preferred. It is much like the laser technique but uses radio­frequency (RF) energy. It involves little to no pain during or after the procedure, and most patients resume normal activities within 1-2 days. Most patients show minimal to no scarring or bruising.

VenaSeal

VenaSeal is a new, state-of-the-art treatment for varicose veins and venous disease which uses medical-grade adhesive instead of heat to seal the affected vein(s). Dr. Bunker is one of the first doctors in Austin to be offering this new treatment.

VenaSeal helps to re-route blood flow to healthy veins, allowing the system to heal and alleviating painful symptoms like aching, swelling, and cramping. It requires just one shot of anesthesia, typically shows less bruising than traditional treatments, and recovery is immediate with zero down time.

All of these procedures are safe and in most cases, covered by insurance. To figure out which one might be right for starting your 2016 on the right foot, come in for a complimentary consultation and Dr. Bunker will help you find the best option. Give us a call at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to get scheduled.

image of woman holiday shopping

So you have a lot of loved ones on your nice list this year. Going to the mall, outlets or a shopping center and knocking out many hours of holiday shopping at once may seem like the best and quickest use of your time, but it’s important to follow a few important guidelines to ensure that you don’t aggravate varicose vein symptoms or place strain on your vein health.

Here are 4 (really helpful!) Tips for Pain-free Shopping During the Holiday Season:

  1. Take lots of breaks during your marathon shopping spree. Find a bench or other place to stop for even 5-10 minutes and relax. Take a few deep breaths, grab a drink (preferably water or tea and not soda or coffee), and plan out your next stop instead of going straight there.
  2. Try to elevate your legs when you stop for lunch.  Make sure to give yourself a nice long chunk of time to sit down and enjoy your lunch in the food court or a nearby restaurant. While you’re sitting down, prop your legs up on the bench or the seat across from you to stretch and allow your blood to flow. Bonus points: Do this when you stop for breaks too.
  3. Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. It’s always fun to dress up for the holidays, but your shopping spree is one time when you’re better off leaving the heels at home. Many people don’t know this, or even think the opposite, but lower-heeled shoes can actually help tone your calf muscles and help blood move through your veins.
  4. Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods. Let’s talk about those food court lunch options. Instead of the General Tso’s special, burger and fries, or pizza slice, try finding something like a baked potato, salad, smoothie, or stir-fry with lots of veggies. Eating fiber reduces the chances of constipation, which can contribute to varicose veins. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. And eating less salt can help with the swelling that comes with varicose veins.

Just by following these 4 simple tips, you’ll make your holiday shopping trip a lot easier (and more enjoyable). If you have questions about varicose veins or other ways to manage your symptoms, give Bunker Vein and Imaging a call at (512) 726-0599.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Bunker Vein!

image of comfortable holiday travel

It’s that special season again, and many of us are preparing to visit family in another city, state, or country to celebrate. If you’ve been diagnosed with varicose or spider veins or are currently experiencing symptoms, take extra care to treat your legs with lots of love during long drives and flights to prevent causing further strain.

Here are 5 simple but very effective tips for safe, comfortable holiday travel:

1. Don’t forget to pack your compression stockings.

They may not be the kind Santa will fill with treats, but compression stockings can be the biggest little helper when it comes to managing vein health and symptoms. These medical-grade socks and stockings are designed to support blood flow in the legs by using graduated pressure from the ankle to the knee. Wearing compression socks during long bouts of travel reduces throbbing and swelling, so you can spend more time with your family and less time in pain.

2. Travel in comfort, not style.

Avoid wearing anything constricting or tight-fitting while traveling, as this can really exacerbate discomfort and leg pain. Instead, opt for comfortable, loose-fitting clothing like sweatpants, wind pants, basketball shorts, yoga pants, long skirts, or comfortable slacks.

3. Break up long periods of sitting with short walks and stretching.

Sitting still for extended periods of time, especially with the knee in the bent or legs-crossed position, further limits strained blood flow in the legs and can cause increased pain, swelling, and even risk for a deep vein clot.

If you’re traveling by plane, train, or bus, get up from your seat when the ride is smooth and walk up and down the aisles. If you’re driving, make sure you stop every 1-2 hours to stretch and move around. Avoid crossing your legs.

4. Learn some simple sitting stretches.

Sometimes, turbulence or space constraints can make it hard to walk around. If you’re bound to your seat, you can support the blood flow in your legs by using simple sitting stretches. Stretch the calf by pumping your foot up and down as if you’re hitting a gas pedal 20-30 times. Flex your feet and then point your toes, 20-30 times. Rotate your ankle in small circles in one direction 10 times, then the other direction 10 times.

All of these stretches will improve blood flow and decrease your risk for worsening symptoms or clots. Use them in place of #3 or, even better, in addition to.

5. Drink plenty of water.

It’s always important to stay hydrated, but even more so during travel. Make sure to get plenty of pure, filtered water and other fluids to keep your blood flowing smoothly, and avoid those travel cocktails and other alcoholic beverages until you arrive at your destination—they could contribute to dehydration.

If you’d like to get your legs checked for vein health before you depart on your holiday travel, or if you’re ready to begin treatment for pain-free legs, give Bunker Vein and Imaging a call at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Happy holidays and safe travels from Bunker Vein!

Image of woman needing varicose vein evaluations

Cooler Weather is Better

As the summer heat fades and we finally start to see some cooler weather, it’s the perfect time to come in for a varicose vein evaluation.

It could take 6-12 weeks for your insurance company to approve treatment, and fall makes it much more comfortable to start wearing long, cozy compression socks—just one of many “conservative therapies” most insurance companies require.

While all of our procedures for treating varicose veins are quick to recover from and covered by most insurance plans, you will most likely be required to wear these medical-grade, long socks for several weeks before beginning more permanent treatment.

Not All Socks Are Created Equal

Compression socks or stockings are much tighter than what you’d find at the store, and stop the blood from flowing backwards to reduce pain and swelling. But they can be a drag to wear in the summertime, when we’re already working up a sweat in shorts and sandals.

If you get an evaluation now and tuck your compression stockings under your pants or leggings through the fall and winter, not only will you have an extra layer of warmth, you’ll also be ready to begin treatment in time to get your beautiful legs ready for spring.

Wearing compression stockings, along with the other conservative therapies you will probably be required to try, usually help to greatly reduce symptoms like pain and swelling. So if you get started now, you should be able to focus on enjoying the holidays and time with your family, instead of worrying about throbbing or aching legs.

Conservative Therapies Are Not Permanent Solutions

Unfortunately, these therapies alone are not typically able to provide permanent relief from varicose veins or their symptoms. That’s why after you’ve completed the necessary number of weeks, your insurance company will most likely give you the go-ahead for lasting treatment.

Our advanced, minimally invasive procedures for treating your varicose veins require just one to four treatments and very little recovery time, and provide permanently smooth, pain-free legs you’ll love showing off in the spring…but you have to start now before time runs out!

Call Bunker Vein to schedule your initial evaluation at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online.

image of woman on exercise ball

Health and fitness are essential parts of living a happy, long life. But for most women, self-care and exercise often fall by the wayside of caring for children, family, work, and everything in between. Most women struggle to put themselves first.

The goal of National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is to encourage women to flip this pattern on its head and turn making healthy choices and getting regular, enjoyable physical activity into a top priority.

The truth is, health and fitness are requirements, not options. Just think about what happens when mom gets sick…the whole show screeches to a halt. The better health you are in, the better quality of life you will have, and the more you will be able to provide for those around you.

Not only that, good health means more energy for relationships, fun, business, and personal development. None of those things can be given a full effort if you’re depleted and exhausted.

Here are some tips for putting your health and fitness first:

  • Ditch the diet. Dieting does not work. It may help you achieve some goals in the short-term, but depriving ourselves of “bad” foods and punishing ourselves with strict rules is a recipe for putting it all back on later. Instead, listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods. Learn to tell the difference between an emotionally-driven craving and your body telling you it needs something.

  • Find movement you love. Let’s be honest–if you hate running or going to the gym, you are never going to commit to it as a lifestyle. Rather than forcing yourself to follow a workout regimen, have fun with it! Try different forms of activity like dancing, biking, hiking, swimming, walking, yoga, or even blasting your favorite music while you speed-clean the house. What’s most important is that you actually enjoy doing it, so that you’ll keep doing it.

  • Don’t put off taking care of yourself. Self-care should always come first, because putting it off means risking serious health issues. Take time to pamper yourself. Treat tense muscles with massage. Seek out preventative health screenings.

Sometimes even with healthy food choices and lots of movement, genetics can come into play and throw us a health curveball. If your family has a history of vein disease or varicose veins, or if you have been experiencing leg pain or swelling, put yourself first and come into Bunker Vein & Imaging for your free consultation. Call us at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule today.

Here’s to a happy, healthy you!

Doctor woman with stethoscope and laptop writing on the paper

You may be thinking about getting your veins checked with our free vein health consultation, or you may even know that you need one…but it can be hard to take that first important step when you’re not sure what to expect.

The good news is, you really have nothing to fear! Our free evaluations are quick, comprehensive, and pain-free, giving you the care and peace of mind you need without long wait times or uncomfortable procedures.

What Happens in an Evaluation?

First, you’ll have a chat with Dr. Bunker. He’ll ask you some simple, specific questions and then examine the area you’re having trouble with. In the diagnostic portion of your examination, your legs will be evaluated using ultrasound, the same technique used to evaluate babies in their mothers’ womb. There is no radiation involved, and all you’ll feel is a warmed gel and light pressure.

Once we’ve confirmed what’s going on, you’ll be presented with the treatment options right for you, including our professional recommendation, and given all the time you need to discuss and ask questions.

How Long Does it Take?

The initial screening takes about 15 minutes, the ultrasound up to 1 hour, and the final consultation about 15 to 30 minutes. These three portions of your evaluation may all happen on the same day if time permits, such as in our “fast track” program, but we are not always able to schedule them all together.

How Soon Does Treatment Begin?

The time between the completion of your evaluation and the start of your treatment varies, mostly depending upon the requirements of your insurance carrier. We always do our best to expedite the process and get you treated as soon as possible. If you do not go through insurance, the timing is based on what works best for you.

So now that you have a better look at just what a free consultation entails, what are you waiting for? You have nothing to fear and so much to gain by getting your legs back to great health. Call us at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule your no-fear evaluation today!

seniorcitizenday 

On Friday, August 21, America will celebrate our National Senior Citizen Day.

Where Did National Senior Citizen Day Come From?

This is a special day of recognition that was first proclaimed by Ronald Reagan in 1988, in honor of the contributions and legacy created by our nation’s senior demographic, which is traditionally defined as above age 60.

An excerpt of Reagan’s Proclamation 5847 reads:

For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.

Celebrating Our Senior Citizens

Senior citizens are an integral part of our communities and the foundation upon which we all continue to grow. Without the achievements and wisdom of our elders, we wouldn’t be here today. They have given us so much to celebrate!

We are committed to creating high quality of life for our seniors. Make sure that you or your senior family members are drinking plenty of water, eating nutrient-dense foods, and getting regular, enjoyable movement like walking, dancing, or swimming to stay healthy and happy.

For our senior patients experiencing leg pain and vein issues, we provide comfortable, minimally-invasive treatments with very quick and gentle recoveries, so that life can get back to normal as soon as possible.

If you or your loved ones are complaining about pain in your legs, please call us at 512-726-0599 to schedule a free screening at one of our locations in Westlake or Round Rock.

Image of woman walking in the summerIt’s the height of summertime in Texas and it’s hot. The blazing sun and 90˚F+ temperatures aren’t just annoying though, this thick heat can actually make some symptoms of vein disease worse.

Venous insufficiency is what happens when the veins are no longer regulating and directing the flow of blood appropriately, sometimes leaking or becoming backed up and swollen like in varicose veins.

While not all vein diseases are affected by the heat, the symptoms of venous insufficiency in particular are prone to flare up around this time of year.

Here are the early signs of venous insufficiency you should watch out for this summer:

Early Sign #1: Edema or Swelling

Even if you don’t typically experience edema, you might notice your legs swelling during the hot summer months. Swollen legs can be caused by a few things so this isn’t a sure-fire sign of venous insufficiency, but it is one of the most common symptoms.

When our veins heat up from high temperatures or high activity, they dilate or expand, making room for more blood to flow and allowing heat to be released through sweat.

If your veins were already having trouble regulating the flow of blood, this extra blood flow could make existing swelling worse.

The extra blood flow also raises your blood pressure, which along with the loss of essential salts that comes with heavy sweating, can cause surrounding fluid to accumulate in the legs even if swelling wasn’t a problem before.

Early Sign #2: More Fatigue & Heaviness

The summer heat also makes that dull, heavy feeling in the legs worse. This is in large part due to the extra blood flow we talked about in #1. Many patients complain of increased fatigue in one or both legs as well.

Early Sign #3: Bulging Veins

When the valves in the blood vessels of the legs are no longer able to adequately regulate the flow of blood back upward toward the heart, it begins to pool in the vein.

This is what causes the bulging, swollen veins known as “varicose veins,” which can be made worse in the summer, also due to the extra blood flow. Varicose veins can sometimes be accompanied by the swelling, fatigue, and heaviness in #1 and #2.

Early Sign #4: Cramping or Aching

It’s not very comfortable for your legs to be holding all of that extra fluid. Another early sign of venous insufficiency is a cramping or aching feeling in the leg, which often comes from the backed up fluid and increased pressure on the veins.

The pain associated with venous insufficiency can range from mild to very intense, so do not wait to seek treatment even if you’re only experiencing a little bit of pain.

Don’t Take Off Your Compression Stockings

One of the easiest ways to relieve some of these symptoms right away and until you can seek treatment is to wear medical-grade compression stockings. The heat can make wearing them uncomfortable at times, but unless you really need to don’t take them off.

Many patients stop wearing their compression stockings when it gets really hot, which can often add to their symptoms getting worse.

If you’re experiencing any of the above or think that you may be at risk of developing venous insufficiency, find out for sure and start feeling better with a free consultation. Call us at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule.

Did you know that even the most physically fit athletes can get varicose veins?

Image of athletes running

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are the bulging, swollen veins in the legs that many people associate only with the elderly. They are caused by weakened or damaged valves in the blood vessels which regulate the flow of blood upward toward the heart.

While varicose veins can be caused or exacerbated by aging, being overweight, or poor health, they can affect even young adults and those in excellent health, mostly due to genetics. Those with a family history of vein disease are significantly more likely to be at risk, regardless of their health level.

Varicose veins can be particularly disruptive for athletes because of the extra blood pumped to the legs during heavy exercise. If the body isn’t able to properly pump the blood back upward to the heart, that post-workout high is disrupted by aching, throbbing, and more fatigue in the affected leg.

Even so, many athletes—especially men—can be hesitant to go to the doctor when they begin to notice pain or other symptoms.

Dr. Bunker helped IronMan competitor Robert (Bob) Schuler after he began to notice pain in his left leg, and even though he was reluctant to come in, his performance has improved dramatically. Here’s what Dr. Bunker had to share:

Q: Do you think there is a stigma with men in general regarding varicose vein/spider vein treatment? 

DB: Definitely, men are less likely to see a physician, even when they’re in pain. The misconception that varicose and spider veins are solely a cosmetic issue is a leading factor as to why men do not seek treatment.

Q: Was Mr. Schuler experiencing any pain?

DB: Yes, he was unable to perform to his highest level of athleticism and had the Ironman CDA coming up in 6 weeks.  

Q: How was it affecting his performance?

DB: Athletes such as Mr. Schuler, who spend plenty of time on their feet, place strain on the veins of the lower legs. This can lead to the development of varicose veins, which hinder the performance of the athlete.

Q: What was his diagnosis? 

DB: Venous insufficiency with the right and left great saphenous vein affected and needing treatment.

Q: Which treatment was used? 

DB: Mr. Schuler was treated with the Venefit procedure, which involves inserting the endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) catheter into the diseased vein through a small incision below the knee and threading the catheter through the vessel. Next, he had sclerotherapy which involves injecting a solution directly into the vein and causing it to scar and collapse, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into local tissue and eventually fades.

Q: How was his recovery?  

DB: Very successful, his legs felt and looked better than ever before. He was able to preform to his highest standard of athleticism.

Are aching, throbbing, burning, or heavy legs getting in the way of your exercise or athletic training? Don’t wait to seek treatment…call us today at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and get back in your game.

image of young adult legs Did you know that the veins in your legs can begin to have trouble properly circulating your blood at any age, even in early adolescence?

Many people think of varicose veins as something only older folks have to worry about, but the truth is that the valves in our veins that regulate blood flow can begin to malfunction very early in life, even if they do not produce typical varicose vein symptoms right away.

Nice Legs, Miss England

Just take it from 25-year-old Miss England, Charlotte Holmes. The Daily Mail UK reported that this young, fit model had branches of light blue veins on her shin for as long as she could remember, often asking makeup artists to cover them up before a shoot.

When she went in to have them treated, Holmes was surprised to learn that they were in fact varicose veins.

Professor Mark Whiteley of the Whiteley Clinic in Guildford, Surrey says, “it’s not uncommon for people in their 20s to have them. I see lots of under-30s with them. Many are shocked because they perceive them to be an old person’s problem.”

Whiteley cites one in nine 18-year-old girls as having lost function of their venous valves, which ensure that blood flows upward toward the heart. The pooling of backed up blood that can result will eventually lead to some form of vein disease.

Approximately half of affected individuals have cases of what are called “hidden varicose veins,” meaning that they show no visible signs or warnings that the vein may be compromised before experiencing pain, swelling, or other symptoms.

Most cases of varicose veins in youth and young adults are genetic. If your parents or grandparents suffered from vein disease, it’s more likely that you could be at risk for developing them at a young age.

Don’t Wait, Get Checked Now

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s best that you see a doctor right away.
Delaying treatment could lead to much more severe and in some cases fatal conditions.

  • You have pain, throbbing, swelling, or discomfort in your legs

  • Your vein(s) are red, swollen, bleeding, warm, or sore

  • The skin on your leg and/or ankle has thickened and changed color

  • You have a rash or skin sores near your ankle

No matter how old you are, never put off taking great care of your body. The small steps you take today could make (literally) years of difference later. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (512) 726-0599 or contact us online.

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