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Vital signs are measurements that measure the most basic functions of the body, which are undertaken by health care providers and medical professionals. These signs include blood pressure, pulse rate or heart rate, respiration rate, and body temperature. It should be noted that vital signs vary with several factors, e.g. age, health, sex, weight and health exercises. Medical equipments used to measure the vital signs include the thermometer, a watch, a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope in cases. Normal and healthy adults should have their blood pressure at 90/60 mm/Hg for the low range to 120/80 mm/Hg for high the high range, at rest. The breathing should be between 12 to 18 breaths a minute; the pulse rate should be between 65 to 100 beats every minute, and their temperature should read at an average of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (Dickinson, Edward, Daniel, Michael 212).
Body temperature can also vary depending on fluids and food taken, time of the day and the menstrual cycle in women. Body temperature is usually controlled by thermoregulation in the process of affecting the rate of chemical reactions in the body. Measurement of body temperature helps in assessing and finding out any signs of inflammation or systemic infection caused by a fever. Hyperthermia increases the temperature of a body and hypothermia decreases the body temperature. Measurement of body temperature can be done orally by placing a thermometer in the mouth, early by placing a thermometer in the ear to measure the eardrum’s temperature, by skin, rectally or auxiliary by placing a thermometer under the armpit. A thermometer is used to measure the temperature of the body.
The blood pressure can give systolic and diastolic pressure readings. Systolic pressure denotes a high pressure when the heart contracts at the maximum and diastolic pressure denotes a low blood pressure when the heart rests between the bets. Medical practitioners opt in measuring the blood pressure on the left arm if the arm is not damaged. Blood pressure is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Blood pressure cuffs with an electronic or an aneroid sphygmomanometer may be used to measure blood pressures. Units used in measuring the blood pressure are mm/ Hg or millimeters of mercury. When the blood pressure is high, a patient suffers from hypertension, and suffers hypotension when the blood pressure is low. Hypertension leads to heart attack and stroke or brain attack.
Pulse rate is used to measure the rate, at which a heart beats in a minute. Besides measuring the heart beat, taking a pulse helps in showing the heart rhythm and the strength of the pulse. Pulse rate may vary according to exercises, emotions, injury and illnesses among others. Teenage and adult females have a faster pulse rate than males. A pulse can be found at the wrist in the radial artery, at the brachial artery on the inside part of the elbow; the carotid pulse on the neck, at popliteal artery, behind the knee, and at posterior tibial arteries in the foot. For anyone interested in monitoring his or her pulse rate, it is recommended that one should press firmly on the arteries until a pulse is felt, by using the tips of the first and second fingers.
Respiration rate is the number of breaths taken by a person in every minute. Respiration rate should be taken when one is at rest. For effective measurements, one should count the number of times a chest rises in every minute. Fever and difficult breathing problems like asthma can affect the respiration rate. Respiration helps in removal of carbon dioxide and aids in the entry of oxygen gas into the lungs for absorption into the blood stream.
Measurement of Vital signs helps the healthcare providers establish how sick a patient is, quickly and easily. Vital signs are basic elements of patient care, because they establish the protocols to be followed, provide life saving information and decisions, as well as an aid in the proper treatments to be conducted on a patient.