Monthly Archives: August 2008

Wake Up to the Hazards of Sleep Apnea

Sometimes snoring is just snoring. Sometimes snoring is the side effect of a much serious condition commonly known as sleep apnea. At Vitality Medical we’ve seen a significant rise in the use of CPAP machines. But when local radio station KSL A.M. 1160 came to ask us about it, we figured it was time to blog about it. (you can listen to the interview by clicking here)

Sleep Apnea Information

Your doctor is the only one who can diagnose sleep apnea but if you are constantly fatigued despite regular sleep, you may want to meet with the doc and discuss it. Other side effects of sleep apnea are morning headaches, restless sleep, and sleepiness during the daytime. Even if a person gets regular uninterrupted sleep, they could still suffer from sleep apnea. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, or premature death. In The Journal of Neuroscience Letters [June 2008] researchers revealed that people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) show tissue loss in brain regions that help store memory, linking OSA with memory loss. One medical investigator hypothesized that repeated drops in oxygen lead to the brain injury

Former NFL football great Reggie White was known to suffer from aleep apnea, may have contributed to his death. If apnea can take down a Hall of Fame defensive end like White, it should not be ignored.

What is Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Each pause is called an apnea. Each apnea lasts long enough so that one or more breaths are missed. When this occurs repeatedly throughout sleep, you have sleep apnea.

There are two types of sleep apnea which are determined by the cause of the apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common category of sleep-disordered breathing, according to Wikipedia. Muscles relax during sleep and since the throat is composed of soft collapsible walls, without the muscles doing their work the throat collapses and breathing is cut off.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is less common. With CSA the brain doesn’t signal a normal breathing pattern to the body. Blood levels of carbon dioxide, and the neurological feedback mechanism that monitors it does not react quickly enough to maintain an even respiratory rate, with the entire system cycling between apnea and hyperpnea, even during wakefulness.

What is the Treatment?

Anyone who believes they may be suffering from sleep apnea should confer with their doctor. One of the most common treatment options for the condition of obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.

CPAP treatment consists of three parts: the CPAP Compressor, oxygen tubing and a special CPAP mask. The CPAP machine is essentially a quiet air compressor that continually forces air thorough the tubing to the mask. The continuous air pressure forces the airway to remain open, which allows for normal breathing for the entire night.

The CPAP machine delivers a steady stream of compressed air via a hose to the mask. This keeps the airway open with air pressure so that unobstructed breathing becomes possible. Because a side benefit is a marked reduction of the extremely loud snoring that sometimes accompanies sleep apnea.

Fisher & Paykel FlexiFit 405 Nasal CPAP Mask

Fisher & Paykel FlexiFit 405 Nasal CPAP Mask

The CPAP mask is different from other Oxygen Masks. Typically, a CPAP mask is a noise only mask. Although these masks may appear awkward, they have gone a long way toward helping people with OSA get the rest they need.

Whether you suffer from the symptoms of Sleep Apnea or are concerned about a family who suffers, remember at Vitality Medical we are committed to providing you the medical equipment that your doctor prescribes—at a great value!

For 8 years, at Vitality Medical, we have delivered on our promise to sell top quality medical supplies at some of the best prices on the Web.

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Scarring—You Don’t Have To Live With It.

Although scars are a naturally occurring part of dermal (skin) healing, many people want to fade the appearance of their scars. In the old days you just had to live with scars or use a folk remedy. Folk remedies include coco butter, toothpaste, Vitamin E to a mixtures of multani mitti and calamine lotion.

For a more medical remedy, read on.

The Building Blocks of Scars.

Scar Reduction Treatments

Reducing Scars


Collagen is a natural protein that supports the skin. Injectable collagen formulas are made of the same materials. So when your favorite Hollywood actors get their collagen injections, they are basically injecting “scar building blocks” into their lips or other soft tissues. The results of this type of cosmetic procedure may last 2 to 4 months.

The extracellular matrix, or connective tissue is a complex structural system that surrounds and supports your cells. It is also partly made of collagen fibers. Collagen naturally occurs and there is plenty of it in you—even if you don’t get injections. So what does this have to do with scars?

What is a Scar?

When skin is damaged, your body will naturally re-grow skin to cover the wound. The new skin is made largely of collagen fibers to connect the cells together. Imagine the Beatles character Father McKenzie “darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there.” That’s what your body is doing to heal a wound. Your body uses these collagen fibers to knit a wound back together and eventually close the wound.

Scars do not occur when you are injured but rather after you are healed. So if you have a scar the wound is healed.

Most skin scars are flat, pale and leave a trace of the original injury that caused them. The redness that often follows an injury to the skin is not a scar, and is generally not permanent. The time it takes for the redness to go away may range from days to months to several years. The scar is generally permanent.

A Detour on The Road Map of the Soul.

In this year’s movie The Air I Breathe, Sarah Michelle Gellar says, “Scars are the road map to the soul.” But if your road map is too detailed, some scar reduction therapy may be where your road map leads.

Over time some small scars may fade by themselves. However, two scar types may need a little extra help. They form when body overproduces collagen during healing and in some people they just form out of the blue.

Hypertrophic Scars take the form of a red raised lump on the skin. Typically, they don’t grow beyond the boundaries of the original wound. Left alone, they often improve in appearance after a few years.

Keloid Scars are a more serious form of scarring, because they can carry on growing indefinitely into a large, benign, tumorous growth.

Both hypertrophic and keloid scars can occur on anyone, but some people are more inclined to these types of scarring. Keloid scars can also develop from body piercings and in some people, keloid scars form spontaneously. When people call us at Vitality Medical looking for scar solutions, to eliminate some of the roads in their map, we introduce them to several new effective silicone gel products found to be effective in reducing scars. One of these products is Smith and Nephew Cica Care.

Smith and Nephew’s Cica Care

CICA-CARE in use.

Cica Care in use.

According to the data sheet about Cica Care, “Cica Care Gel Sheet is a soft, self-adhesive, semi-occlusive sheet made from medical grade silicone reinforced with a silicone membrane backing.” Cica Care helps improve the appearance of most red, dark or raised scars. These gel sheets are widely used by dermatologists and others in the medical profession with over a million units sold. Cica Care is durable, comfortable and re-usable, ideal for day and night use. It can be used on both kids and adults so it works for the whole family. Cica Care has been shown to be successful in improving older scars, however results are expected to be most effective in more recent scars.

Within 2-4 months, scars you thought were permanent can be reduced and their appearance improved.

How to use Cica Care

First remove the Cica Care from it’s tray and cut a piece to fit the size of the scar.

Although it is a self-adhesive dressing some of our customers at Vitality Medical, have found success using a Dressing Retention tape. Smith & Nephew’s Hypafix Dressing Retention Tape is always recommended to customers who select Cica Care.

The Proof is in the Gel

In four separate studies, involving 232 people, Cica Care was clinically shown 93% effective in improving the appearance of scars. Cica Care is also shown to be longer lasting than other topical silicone gel sheets—up to two weeks or longer. It’s effective on old scars—up to 20 years old, and Cica Care is effective on new scars resulting from plastic surgery. More details of the studies can be found in an article about Cica Care Scar Treatment by Georgia Milner.

The Bottom Line

Many people who have tried Cica Care to improve the appearance of their Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars have been very happy with the results. So happy in fact that Smith and Nephew’s Cica Care is one of the best selling and most popular scar improvement therapies available.

For 8 years, at Vitality Medical, we have delivered on our promise to sell top quality medical supplies at some of the best prices on the Web.

Listen Up—Time For Stethoscope School!!!

Doctor with a Stethoscope

Doctor with a Stethoscope

As we move though the summer, back-to-school time is creeping up on us. Before you know it, the school year will begin. If you are in need of a good quality STETHOSCOPE, this blog is for you.

Wikipedia presents the roots of the stethoscope this way: “The stethoscope was invented in France in 1816 by René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec. It consisted of a wooden tube and was monaural.”

It is hard to buy a stethoscope for others, so at Vitality Medical we have some tips that will make your stethoscope buying experience a rewarding one. Because, nobody wants an unwanted stethoscope sitting around.

Stethoscope School 101

The stethoscope is made of three main components: the Diaphragm, Acoustic Tubes, and the Headset.

The Diaphragm The part that is exposed to the patient’s body is the diaphragm.. Often times this chestpiece is two sided with a diaphragm on one side and a bell on the other.

When the diaphragm is used, the patient’s body sounds vibrate the diaphragm. The resulting sound waves travel through the tubing to the ear tips. When the bell is placed on the patient, the vibrations come from the skin to produce sound waves. The diaphragm is used for higher frequency sounds and the bell for low frequency sounds.

Some stethoscopes have detachable bells and diaphragms so that a Doctor, Nurse, or Student can switch between bell and diaphragm. They may also attach a pediatric diaphragm on one side and an Adult diaphragm on the other.

The Acoustic Tubes
Often overlooked, the tubing is a crucial part of the stethoscope. Because of latex allergies, the tubes are made of a non-latex synthetic rubber. The tubes should be dense in this construction so environmental noises don’t interfere with the examinations.

The two most common tube configurations are “Y” and “Dual.” A “Y” configuration is where one tube comes out of the chestpiece and splits with a tube going to each of the ear tips. A “Dual” tube configuration is where two separate tubes come from the chestpiece and go separately to the ear tips.

22k Gold Plated MDF 2-in-1 Deluxe Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

22k Gold Plated MDF 2-in-1 Deluxe Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope

The Headset
Perhaps the most important part of the stethoscope is the Headset. This is the part that will be the most comfortable or uncomfortable to the medical professional or student. The Headset is made of the ear tips, spring, and the lightweight metal frame that holds it all together.

The “spring” forces the headset to a closed position. A medical professional can wear the stethoscope around their neck or in their ears leaving their hands free. The ear tips go into the ears. They should be comfortable and provide a seal in the ear canal to block out noise.

Whether you need a stethoscope for a medical student or you just want to update your own, you will want to check out our selection of stethoscopes from Invacare, Littman, and MDF. They make great gifts for your med student, nursing student, CNA student or other medical trainee.

For 8 years, at Vitality Medical, we have delivered on our promise to sell top quality medical supplies at some of the best prices on the Web.

5 Oxygen Concentrator Tips

Oxygen Concentrators Made Easy

There is little more terrifying than the fear for not getting enough air. Fear of suffocation is one of the two components of Claustrophobia the other being fear of restriction. If you require medical oxygen both of these fears could be affecting you. However with all of the breakthroughs in oxygen delivery systems in recent years, those fears may be unfounded. At Vitality Medical we have helped literally thousands of people find their oxygen therapy solution.

What Is An Oxygen Concentrator?

An Oxygen Concentrator is a medical device that concentrates regular air to an oxygen concentration level of greater than 87%. According to MiStupid.com, the air we breathe generally contains 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen; all other components are about 1%.

Concentrators remove most of the nitrogen, leaving the remaining air 87-95% oxygen. Then the oxygen concentrators deliver the oxygen to the patient by means of tubes or masks. Oxygen concentrator output is measured in liters per minute (lpm.)

There are two basic types of oxygen concentrators used in Home Oxygen Therapy. These include Portable Oxygen Concentrators and Non-Portable Oxygen Concentrators. The main differences between these two types of Concentrators are capacity and weight.

A simple rule of thumb is the more it weighs, the more liters per minute (LPM) of oxygen output it will produce. Often times an Oxygen Therapy Patient has several of the decisions made for them. Their Health Care Provider will write a prescription that will list a requirement for LPM. All Oxygen Concentrators can adjust down from their maximum output but obviously, they cannot exceed it.

Invacare Portable Oxygen Concentrator the XPO2

Invacare's New Oxygen Concentrator the XPO2

Portable Oxygen Concentrators

Portable Oxygen Concentrators usually operate using Pulse Delivery. Puffs of Oxygen deliver the Oxygen to the Patient. Typically using the Pulse Delivery method approximately 1 lpm is the Maximum Oxygen flow. Pulse Delivery relies on the patient’s ability to sync their breathing to the rhythm of the machine. A doctor can tell you if this Pulse Dosing will give the patient the right supply of Oxygen.

Portable Oxygen concentrators are light enough to carry and are also relatively quiet. One of the complaints about Oxygen concentrators from the old days was the amount of noise that they made. Particularly an older home unit, which can sound like raving pack of SCUBA enthusiasts.

Respironics Millennium M10 Oxygen Concentrator

Respironics Millennium M10 Oxygen Concentrator

Non-Portable Oxygen Concentrators (home oxygen)

Home Units or Non-Portable Oxygen Concentrators operate using Continuous Flow Delivery. A steady stream of Oxygen flows to the Patient. People with serious and advanced pulmonary disease may need this kind of machine to breathe. These machines are designed to run 24-hours a day delivering a set level of lpm to the patient. Currently the home units are topping out at about 10 LPM.

The 5 Oxygen Concentrators Tips

A well-informed decision is usually the difference between breathing easy with your decision or choking down your buyer’s remorse. Whether you purchase your machine from Vitality Medical or another vendor, here are 5 things to remember when deciding on an Oxygen Concentrator.

  1. Don’t let price be your only guide. Sometime the most expensive unit isn’t the right fit for you. Maybe it’s the most expensive because it includes more accessories or has a more recognizable brand name.
  2. Ask Questions. When doing your research don’t hesitate to ask questions. At Vitality Medical our staff has the answer or we call the manufacturer and get it. But even if you see someone on the bus using portable oxygen, ask them about their experience. They went through the same paces when they picked their unit.
  3. Buy a little more than you need. Oxygen Concentrators can be dialed down to meet your needs. Say you spend between $650 and $5000 on an oxygen concentrator and you should come to need more lpm within the year, buying a concentrator with more capacity means buying just one.
  4. DON’T RENT—BUY! Employing full disclosure, at this time Vitality Medical does not rent machines. If you have a monthly Oxygen Therapy bill just add up a years worth of receipts and balance them against the cost of a Concentrator. The math speaks for itself.
  5. Talk to your Health Care Professional. Each case is different. Only you, your family and your doctor can come to the correct Oxygen solution.

For 10 years, at Vitality Medical we have delivered on our promise to sell top quality medical supplies at some of the best prices on the Web.