When you go to the doctor, he or she will take your vital signs. These are measurements of some of the most important aspects of your health and wellness. They’re easy to measure and can tell a lot about how well you’re doing. If you are unfamiliar with these vital signs, it’s important that you learn about them so that if/when they need to be taken, there’s no confusion!
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. It’s measured by a sphygmomanometer, which measures both systolic and diastolic pressures (the first number and second number on your blood pressure reading). Low blood pressure is called hypotension, and it can be dangerous because it makes you feel weak or faint. High blood pressure is called hypertension–it puts stress on your heart and damages other organs in addition to increasing risk for stroke and heart attack
Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in one minute. It’s measured with a stethoscope, and can be affected by physical activity, stress and illness. A normal resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute (bpm).
In order to know if someone is in distress or needs medical attention, it’s important to take their respiration rate. The normal adult respiratory rate is 12-20 breaths per minute. This can change with age and exercise:
Temperature is a measure of the heat in your body, and it’s measured with a thermometer. Body temperature can be taken orally or rectally, but it’s more common to measure it orally because it’s less invasive.
Oxygen is a critical component of the human body. It’s used in every cell to create energy and keep you alive. Oxygen levels are measured with a device called a pulse oximeter, which clips onto your finger or earlobe and uses LED lights to measure how much blood flows through your capillaries–the small blood vessels that connect your arteries and veins. Oxygen saturation refers to how much oxygen is in this blood; it’s expressed as a percentage ranging from 0% (no oxygen) up through 100%. In healthy people who have been breathing room air, normal saturation levels average around 96-98%. However, if you’re experiencing low levels of oxygenation due to illness or poor health habits (e.g., smoking), you may have lower readings than usual:
We hope that this article has helped you understand the vital signs of the human body and how they affect your health. If you are unfamiliar with these terms, we encourage you to learn more about them so that if an emergency situation ever arises where someone needs immediate medical attention, they can be properly cared for.