Vital Signs

Vital signs are physicalVital Signs signs that indicate an individual is alive and includes heartbeat, breathing rate, temperature, blood pressures and recently oxygen saturation.

They are the measurement of the body’s most basic functions. These signs may be observed, measured, and monitored to assess an individual’s level of physical functioning. Normal vital signs change with age, sex, weight, exercise, tolerance, and condition.

Four Vital Signs

Four viral signs are temperature, pulse, respiration and blood Pressure.

Normal Ranges

Normal ranges for the average healthy adult while resting are:

Pulse: 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Temperature: 97.8°F to 99.1°F (36.5°C to 37.3°C)/average 98.6°F (37°C).
Breathing: 12 to 18 breaths per minute.
Blood pressure: 90/60 mm/Hg to 120/80 mm/Hg.

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1. Pulse

Pulse is the wave of expansion and recall occurring in an artery in response to the pumping action of the heart. The Pulse rate is a measurement of the heart rate or the number of times the heart beats per minute. Normal pulse rate in adults varies from 72 to 80 beats per minute.

Characteristics of pulse

Pulse rate: It is the number of pulse beats per minute. Normal pulse rate in adults varies from 72 to 80 beats per minute.
Rhythm or regularity: It is the time interval between pulse beats. Normally the time intervals between pulse beats are equal or regular.
Tension: It is the degree of compressibility and depends upon the resistance of the wall of the artery.
Strength/ volume: It is the fullness of the artery. It is the force of blood felt at each beat.

Purpose

The purpose of measuring the pulse is to establish the patient’s baseline pulse rate and access the pulse rate following special procedures and medications.

Procedure

The pulse is measured by applying moderate pressure with the sensitive pads located on the tips of the three middle fingers. Place your three middle fingers on the radial artery which is located on the inner portion of the wrist just above the thumb. Count how many heartbeats you feel in one minute. Pulse Range.

Normal Pulse Rate

It rate varies depending on age. Normal resting pulse ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute for an adult. Tachycardia is characterized as a fast heart rate which is more than 100 beats per minute. This may indicate a patient having some sort of heart disease or the person just finished with vigorous exercise. Bradycardia is characterized as an abnormally low heart rate which is fewer than 60 beats per minute. This may occur during sleep or with trained athletes.

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2. TEMPERATURE

Body temperature is maintained within a fairly constant range by the hypothalamus. Hypothalamus is located in the brain. The hypothalamus functions as the body’s thermostat.
The purpose of measuring body temperature is to establish the patient’s baseline temperature and to monitor any abnormalities.

Normal Temperature Range

The normal temperature range is 97° to 99° Fahrenheit.
The average temperature is 98.6° Fahrenheit.

Temp Alterations

Body temp. that fall between 99° F and 100.4° F is termed as a low-grade fever. Body temp. that is above 100.4° F is termed as a normal fever. The temperature that reaches 105.8° F is a serious condition. A temperature that reaches 109.4° F is generally fatal.

Oral Body Temperature

Step 1: Sanitize your hands.
Step 2: Use the thermometer that is color-coded blue for oral temps only.
Step 3: If using an electronic thermometer make sure you put a plastic sheath over the thermometer to prevent spreading microorganisms.
Step 4: Place the thermometer under the patient’s tongue (make sure the patient’s mouth stays closed) hold it there until the machine beeps. Remove the thermometer from the mouth and discard the plastic sheath. The temperature reading will show up on the machine.

Rectal Temperature

Step 1: Sanitize your hands and wear a pair of gloves.
Step 2: Use the thermometer that is color coded red for rectal temps only.
Step 3: If using an electronic thermometer make sure you put a plastic sheath over the thermometer to prevent spreading microorganisms.
Step 4: Lubricate the thermometer and gently insert it into the patient’s rectum.
Step 5: For adults insert it approximately 1 inch, for children 5/8 of an inch and infants ½ inch. Hold the thermometer in place until the machine beeps. Gently remove the thermometer and discard the sheath. The temperature reading will show up on the machine.

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Tympanic Temperature

Step 1: Sanitize your hands.
Step 2: Place a cover over the probe. This protects the lens and provides infection control.
Step 3: Hold the thermometer in your dominant hand.
Step 4: With your non-dominate hand straighten the patient’s external ear. For adults and children older than 3 yrs. Gently pull the upper part of the outer ear upward and back. For children younger than 3 years pull the lower part of the outer ear downward and back. Insert the probe gently into the patient’s ear canal. Seal the probe tightly without causing discomfort. Wait for the beep. Gently remove the probe and discard the plastic sheath. The temperature reading will show up on the machine.

3. Respiration

The purpose of respiration is to provide for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the blood. Oxygen is taken into the body to be used for vital body processes, and carbon dioxide is given off as a waste product. Each respiration is divided into two phases

Inhalation, which is breathing in. Exhalation, which is breathing out

You need to watch the chest rise and fall as the person breaths. You will count for one minute how many times the chest falls. This will be how many respirations the patient has per minute

Respiration Range

The respiration for a healthy adult ranges from 12 to 20 respirations per minute.

Tachypnea: It is an abnormal increase in respiration which is more than 20 respirations per minute.
Bradypnea: It is an abnormal decrease in respiration which is less than 12 respirations per minute.

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4. Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure or force exerted by the blood on the wall of the arteries in the heart. It varies by age, gender, and medications just to mention a few.

Measuring Blood Pressure

Step 1: Sanitize your hands and select the proper cuff size.
Step 2: Place the cuff on the patient’s upper arm approximately one inch above the bend of the elbow. Keep the arm extended.
Step 3: Place the chest piece of the Stethoscope directly on the bend of the arm of the brachial artery.
Step 4: Using the bulb inflate the cuff to approximately 180-200. Therefore gently release the pressure Listen carefully. Watch the pressure Gage on the B/P Cuff. You will record the first clear tapping sound which is the systolic pressure, then you will record the last tapping sound which is the diastolic pressure.

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While we tried hard to write quality articles but still, the articles and the information within them is not guaranteed to be free of factual errors or typos and hence may not be correct. You are advised to independently verify the claims in the articles and make your own conclusion.

 

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