Image of healthy summer legsHow Long Does It Take to get Healthy-Looking Legs?

If varicose veins are preventing you from getting excited about swimsuit weather, there is no better time than now to have a consultation with a vein specialist. The reason patients should be proactive as soon as possible is because insurance companies many times take a while (sometimes months) to approve treatment. Also, there may be a more serious underlying cause for the symptoms. Plus, summer is just around the corner.

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 attempt one or more “conservative therapies” before your insurance will approve more permanent treatment.

What are Conservative Therapies?

Conservative therapies, as Dr. Bunker explains in this video, are often required anywhere from six weeks to three months before other treatments. The most common conservative therapies include:

  • Medical grade compression stockings, which are much tighter than store-bought stockings and stop the blood from flowing backwards to reduce pain and swelling, along with regular elevation of the legs over the heart

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (in a class called NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, or Motrin

  • Simple health practices like walking or other exercise, weight management, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, and wearing loose-fitting clothes rather than tight clothing

In most cases, conservative therapies will help relieve your symptoms—as long as you are actively using them. Unfortunately, they often aren’t enough to provide long-term pain relief or to give you your great legs back, and many times the vein disease returns and even worsens when the stockings come off or the medications run out.

Not to mention, no one wants to wear medical stockings or take medications for the rest of their lives if they don’t have to.

Our advanced, minimally invasive procedures for treating varicose veins require just one to three treatments with very little recovery time, and provide permanently smooth, pain-free legs you’ll love showing off by the pool…but it’s best to come in now in order to be ready for summer!

Call Bunker Vein to schedule your free screening at (512) 726-0599.

vein center round rockBunker Vein & Imaging Center is proud to announce a new vein center in Round Rock, Texas, on 7200 Wyoming Springs Dr. Ste. 1550 (Wyoming Springs Medical Center). We opened our original Round Rock location in December 2013, as a result of the overwhelming demand for vein care in the North Austin and surrounding areas. The Bunker Vein staff at the new center will continue to provide the same highest standard of treatments for varicose veins, spider veins, and venous disease.

A highly trained, triple-board-certified specialist, Dr. Stephen Bunker has a long tradition of innovation and leadership as a doctor, professor, clinical researcher and pioneer of new imaging technologies. He is board certified in Radiology, Nuclear Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. He also holds certification in the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.

“I became a physician because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Dr. Stephen Bunker. “My mission has always been to help others live better, more productive and fulfilling lives. This is the engine behind my longstanding tradition of innovation and leading-edge care.”

Our original vein center in Central Austin is still located in Westlake at 2712 Bee Caves Road, Suite 122. Call us at 512-726-0599 or make an appointment online at either location.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. If you are in this category, you are at risk for many health problems. The more body fat that you have and the more you weigh, there is a greater likelihood that you will develop:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gallstones
  • Breathing problems
  • Certain cancers

Eating Healthy and Exercise

There are various factors that affect your weight, including your environment, family history and genetics, metabolism, and daily behaviors. There are some things you can’t change, such as your family history, but there are things you can change, such as your lifestyle habits!

Maintaining a healthy eating plan and being physically active are two of the most important lifestyle changes you can make. Not only will these changes help you lose weight – to look and feel healthier – it will also help you prevent varicose veins and make it easier to get treatment if you’ve already been diagnosed.

Varicose Veins and Being Overweight

Varicose Veins and Being OverweightAlthough it is not a direct correlation, varicose veins are more likely to occur in people who are overweight. Sitting or standing for long periods can cause blood to pool in the leg veins, increasing the pressure within the veins – for those who are prone to varicose veins, the veins can stretch as a result of that pressure.

Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on your veins, which can lead to varicose veins. Varicose veins are also more difficult to diagnose and treat in people who are overweight. Because veins usually reside 1-2 cm under the skin, in a larger leg they can be 4-5 cm below the surface, making them harder to see.

Conservative therapies, such as compression stockings, also aren’t as effective in overweight people. If getting healthy is your top priority for 2015, contact us at Bunker Vein & Imaging Center to find out which minimally invasive treatment will be the most effective in helping you get rid of varicose veins and spider veins.

Call (512) 726-0599 to make an appointment or contact us online for a free screening.

Varicose Vein Symptoms | Bulging Veins

Signs and symptoms of vein disease are many and varied. Some of these are limited to subtle and relatively non specific complaints that the patients might have such as restless leg syndrome, or itching and burning of the skin, a heavy feeling at the end of the day, an aching or a swelling of the ankles or lower parts of the leg.

Others are much more specific such as gross varicose veins, bulging veins in the skin, or ulcerations which frequently start inside the ankle. Nevertheless, all of these can lead to the diagnosis confirmation of underlying pressure problems of larger veins in our legs, and all of which can lead to treatment that is covered by most insurance carriers and medicare.

To learn more about your varicose vein symptoms, and to find out about treatments for varicose veins and vein disease, contact Bunker Vein at (512) 726-0599.

Photo Credit: TimothyJ via Compfight cc

Dr. Stephen Bunker and his medical team will be at the KEYE Television studios on Tuesday, December 16, 2014. They will be discussing frequently asked questions about sclerotherapy and other minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins.

Watch for the live interview at 3:00 PM for answers to these questions and more! Be sure to call into the phone bank during the news hour and schedule your free screening.

What is sclerotherapy and what types of patients are good candidates for this procedure?

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to eliminate varicose and spider veins. The procedure involves injecting a solution directly into the vein, which causes the vein to scar and collapse, forcing the blood to reroute through healthier veins.

  • Those who are best suited to take advantage of this type of therapy are:
    men and women between 30 and 60 years of age, in good overall health, whom have not had prior blood clot(s)
  • women whom are at least three months past childbirth.

All of these patients should be evaluated for abnormalities in larger, underlying veins, which, if present, should be treated first.

What is endovenous treatment and what types of patients are good candidates for this procedure?

Sclerotherapy | Ultrasound Guided Treatment | Bunker VeinThis is a minimally invasive ultrasound guided technique used to treat varicose veins by inserting a laser fiber or catheter into the vein called the saphenous vein. The laser fiber, or catheter, heats the inside of this vein causing it to collapse and remain shut. The treatment is performed by a physician trained in phlebology (a vein specialist). A good candidate for the treatment needs to have realistic expectations of the results and meet certain criteria. Upon having a consultation with our physician, a venous ultrasound may be ordered to determine if there is any abnormal backward flow (reflux) in the vein(s).

Can these minimally invasive therapies permanently cure varicose veins?

Currently, minimally invasive treatments have very high success rates compared to traditional surgical treatments. Over a period of years, however, new abnormal veins may develop, and patients may need to return for maintenance treatments after their initial session is completed. Follow-up ultrasound examinations are usually performed to monitor for these developments.

Learn about the various treatments available for varicose veins or call (512) 726-0599 for more information. We have two locations: in Westlake (West Austin) and in Round Rock (North Austin).

Many of the insurance companies will require a period of time, ranging from six weeks to ninety days, of so-called conservative therapy. This means that the patient must wear medical grade compression stockings during the day, elevates their legs nightly for roughly 30 minutes, and takes a medication in the class of what are known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) — these are Advil, ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, etc. — to help reduce inflammation in the legs.

Although this conservative therapy is not a cure for vein disease, the patient may receive some significant symptom relief. But once the stockings are removed, the medications are stopped, the disease usually recurs and progresses.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call Bunker Vein for an appointment at (512) 726-0599 if:

  • Varicose veins are painful
  • Varicose veins are getting worse
  • Putting your legs up or not standing for a long time is not working
  • You have a sudden increase in pain or swelling
  • You have a fever, redness in your leg
  • You get leg sores

Photo Credit: dodongjan via Compfight cc

Dr. Stephen Bunker and his medical team will be at the KEYE Television studios on Wednesday, November 12, 2014. They will be discussing frequently asked questions about diabetes and varicose veins.

Watch for the live interview at 3:15 PM for answers to these questions and more! Be sure to call into the phone bank during the news hour and schedule your free screening.

This will also be a monthly television event, so stay tuned by liking our Facebook page.

Does diabetes cause varicose veins?

Person Self-Administering an Injecting in the ArmThere are no proven direct links between diabetes and varicose veins. Standing for long periods of time, however, does increase the risk of varicose and spider veins – and people who are overweight and stand for too long place greater strain on the veins in their legs. Being overweight also increases the risk of developing diabetes, as well as developing other medical conditions that can impair healthy blood flow. Simply put, the more weight that the legs have to support, then the harder it is for veins to fight gravity and do their job.

What types of foot problems are common in people with diabetes?

Diabetes causes damage to small blood vessels, including those that supply the nerves. Foot problems most often happen when there is nerve damage, also called neuropathy. This can cause tingling, pain (burning or stinging), or weakness in the foot. It can also cause loss of feeling in the foot, resulting in developing an injury without knowing about it. Poor blood flow, or changes in the shape of the feet or toes, may also cause problems.

What can people with diabetes do to prevent varicose veins?

To prevent swelling, people with diabetes should do the following:

  • Cut down on salt intake
  • Elevate the legs when resting
  • Eat high-fiber foods such as bran cereals, whole grain breads, and fresh fruits and vegetables to promote regularity
  • Avoid clothing or undergarments that are tight or constrict the waist, groin or legs

Learn about the various treatments available for varicose veins or call (512) 726-0599 for more information. We have two locations: in Westlake (West Austin) and in Round Rock (North Austin).

107729240_3278d325a5When going through pregnancy, your body will be going through many changes. One of these changes may be the appearance of varicose veins. Many factors can make you more susceptible to the condition, such as family history, successive pregnancies, carrying twins, aging, and obesity. When pregnant, your body will be holding more blood, which adds burden onto your veins. Thus, varicose veins may appear during your nine months. But with these prevention tips, you may avoid them or at least minimize their symptoms.

Prevent varicose veins during pregnancy by:

  • Exercising daily to encourage blood circulation
  • Avoid unnecessary weight gain by staying within the recommended range by your doctor
  • Make sure to take to breaks or stretch when sitting or standing for long periods of time
  • Wear support hose such as compression socks to make blood flow easier

For consultation or a free screening of varicose veins before, during, or after pregnancy, speak with us. We will happily diagnose and help you find the right treatment. Call us at 512-726-0599!

2594690838_e713aea099If you are looking to help treat varicose veins yourself or prevent them, natural ways may be a possibility. The tactics do not always work for everyone, but they may alleviate some of the symptoms. Of course, the best treatment is to seek professional care and treatment.

Natural Strategies To Treat Varicose Veins

Get Some Exercise

Keeping veins strong and healthy is key to treating and preventing varicose veins. Therefore, a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training can keep you at a healthy weight, which helps your support venous structure.

Grape Seed Extract & Horse Chestnut Seed Extract

This has been known as a treatment by providing an antioxidant that promotes elasticity and reduces fluid leakage that ultimately contributes to leg swelling. Horse chestnut seed extract may also be another supplement to help vein health by improving the function of vessel walls.

Compresses

Using a compress can ease any discomfort and reduce the swelling. Depending on how your legs feel, using cold or heated compresses can reduce your symptoms further.

The most ideal treatment is to seek a professional help to properly diagnose your legs and recommend proven treatment that is individualized to your needs. Request a free screening or call us today at 512-726-0599.

9735192821_cc44a39451When dealing with health issues, your family history can play a major factor. For varicose veins, this is no different. In fact, it is one of the main risk factors and is responsible for 80% of those who have the condition. But since you are unable to control your genetic makeup, it is best to always monitor symptoms, while taking any precautions possible. So if your mother has venous diseases, it is important to be aware and seek professional help or consultation. Other factors such as age, pregnancy, prolonged standing, and hormones can also contribute to symptoms.

Varicose veins are not solely a cosmetic issue, conditions like leg ulcers, bleeding, and blood clots can result from improper or lack of treatment. Talk to us to day about a screening and we will find the best treatment for you. Contact us online or call (512) 726-0599 to request an appointment for a screening.

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