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Vital Signs

Vital Signs are measurements of the primary functions of the living body. The vital signs show how well our body is functioning. Vital signs are useful in detecting or monitoring medical problems.

The main vital signs routinely monitored by medical professionals and health workers are as below:

  •  Body temperature

  •  Heart Rate (Pulse rate)

  •  Respiration rate (rate of breathing)

  •  Blood pressure

  •  SpO2

Body Temperature: The normal body temperature of a person varies depending on gender, recent activity, food and fluid consumption, time of day, and, in women, the stage of the menstrual cycle. Normal body temperature can range from 97.8 degrees F (or Fahrenheit, equivalent to 36.5 degrees C, or Celsius) to 99 degrees F (37.2 degrees C) for a healthy adult.

Heart Rate: The pulse rate is a measurement of the heart rate, or the number of times the heart beats per minute. A normal resting heart rate for adult’s ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. Generally, a lower resting heart rate implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness.

Blood Pressure: Measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by a nurse or other health care provider, blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. High blood pressure directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease (heart attack) and stroke (brain attack). With high blood pressure, the arteries may have an increased resistance against the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood.

Blood pressure is categorized as normal, elevated, or stage 1 or stage 2 high blood pressure:

  •  Normal blood pressure is systolic of less than 120 and diastolic of less than 80 (120/80)

  •  Elevated blood pressure is systolic of 120 to 129 and diastolic less than 80

  •  Stage 1 high blood pressure is systolic is 130 to 139 or diastolic between 80 to 89

  •  Stage 2 high blood pressure is when systolic is 140 or higher or the diastolic is 90 or higher

Respiratory Rate: The respiration rate (breathing rate) is the number of breaths a person takes per minute. Normal respiration rates for an adult person at rest range from 12 to 16 breaths per minute.

Respiration rates may increase with fever, illness, and with other medical conditions. In many cases, changes in respiratory rate will be the first indication of a possible deterioration, much sooner than changes in other vital signs.

SpO2: SpO2 (Peripheral capillary Oxygen Saturation) SpO2 is an estimate of the amount of oxygen in the blood. More specifically, it is the percentage of oxygenated haemoglobin (haemoglobin containing oxygen) compared to the total amount of haemoglobin in the blood (oxygenated and non-oxygenated haemoglobin).

SpO2(oxygen saturation) is dependent upon various factors such as oxygen availability, gas exchange in the lungs, concentration of haemoglobin in the red blood cells and the affinity of haemoglobin for oxygen. The normal oxygen level of an healthy individual lies between 95-100%. Having normal saturation level indicates that the body is getting sufficient oxygen and the internal organs are performing at their best. Having very low blood oxygen levels for a short time does not have a serious problem. But if it persists, it puts stress on the heart and brain and causes organ damage.












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