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How Vital are your Vital Signs?

When it comes to important treatment procedures and life-saving measures, vital signs are critical components. Vital signs include body temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, blood pressure and when needed, blood oxygen saturation is included.

Vital signs are the first set of health indicator. They identify acute medical problems, marks chronic health issues and quantify the extent or magnitude of illness. In short, the wackier the vital signs are, the sicker the person. So also, are the vital signs which are within normal range. They are signs of good health.

For accurate and objective measurement of vital signs, standard equipment is necessary. Measuring temperature requires a thermometer, not using back of the hand to “feel.” Counting respiration require careful observation of chest expansion by a professional.

Measuring blood pressure with blood pressure cuff and counting of heart rate must be objectively obtained. Based on the values of blood pressure and heart rate obtained by the professional, scheduled medications could be held or administered.

Below are normal vital sign ranges for a healthy adult at rest:

Temperature: 97.8°F to 99.1°F (Values above or below these numbers is a possible sign of hypothermia, fever, infection or other health issues).

Heart Rate (Pulse): 60 to 100 beats per minute. Bradycardia/Tachycardia are two medical terms when the heartbeat is too slow or when it’s too fast. Heartbeat that’s too fast increases the risk of heart attack. A slow heart rate may necessitate clinical intervention.

Respiration: 12 to 18 breaths per min. Values too low or too high compare to these numbers are considered abnormal. The patient must further be probed to determine the cause of the abnormality.

Blood Pressure: 120/80 (Systolic/Diastolic). An uncontrolled high blood pressure is a risk or an indication of hypertension. When blood pressure is too low, it is called hypotension. Combined low blood pressure and elevated heart rate is life threatening.

Vital signs determine the direction of cares. A deteriorated vital sign is an indication of deteriorated health. When someone is sick and is admitted to a healthcare facility, the person’s health will prompt more frequent checks of vital signs. To emphasize the importance of vital signs, patients in the hospital are either connected to a monitor, placed on a scheduled monitoring or have their vital signs checked as needed.

Monitoring vital signs is a fundamental aspect of cares. Not only must it be measured accurately, it must also be recorded or reported correctly.

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HYPERTENSION: THE SILENT KILLER