What Are Your Vital Signs?
Every time you visit a doctor, you may notice that a medical professional checks specific measurements to assess your wellbeing. Typically, these include your:
- Body temperature.
- Heart rate.
- Respiration rate.
- Blood pressure.
- Height and weight.
These five specific measurements are also known as vital signs because assessing them is vital to your medical evaluation. You may often wonder about vital signs’ importance and why they are taken during every appointment.
Here is a breakdown of your vital signs and why monitoring them matters:
Whether you visit the doctor for an illness or routine checkup, they will always check your body temperature. Body temperatures can fluctuate between ages, genders, and activity levels; however, the average temperature for healthy individuals ranges between 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit and 99 degrees Fahrenheit.
An irregularly high body temperature signals to medical professionals that your body may be fighting an infection or virus. Disruptions to your body temperature can result in sweating, clamminess, and chills. This is your body’s physical reaction to fighting the infection or virus in your system.
We recommend always having a thermometer in your home to monitor your body temperature, especially if you aren’t feeling well. This will allow you to help prevent the spread of any illness and report any symptoms you are experiencing at home to the doctors.
Your heart rate, or pulse rate, is measured by counting the number of times your heart beats per minute. This vital sign can indicate your physical activity level, emotional state, or overall health and wellbeing.
The average pulse for a healthy adult can range from 60 to 100 beats per minute. If you are an extremely active individual, you may notice a slower pulse rate while resting and a faster heart rate during cardiovascular activity. However, your heart rate can also indicate more serious medical conditions such as:
- Infection or other illness.
If you are experiencing other symptoms that relate to any of those conditions, monitoring your heart rate can assist them in providing the proper treatment for you.
Respiration rates determine how many breaths you take per minute. This is monitored by the number of times your chest rises while breathing. On average, adults breathe anywhere between 12 to 20 times per minute. If you are breathing quickly, this could signal to the doctor that you have a respiratory illness, infection, or even an anxiety disorder.
Blood pressure measures the force of the blood pushing through your arteries. It is typically read with two numbers on top of each other, similar to a fraction. The top number, or your systolic pressure, measures the pressure inside your arteries when your heart is contracting and pumping blood through your body. The bottom number, your diastolic pressure, records the pressure inside your arteries when your heart is at rest and filling with blood. The top number is generally higher than the bottom number, and the standard measurement for healthy adults is a systolic pressure of below 120 and a diastolic pressure of below 80.
Measuring your blood pressure is also a great assessment of your heart health. Having elevated blood pressure tells the doctor you may need to start heart-healthy habits such as exercise and cleaner eating. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can lead to serious health conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.
In contrast, low blood pressure, or hypotension, can indicate malnutrition, dehydration, pregnancy, or severe infection. Monitoring your blood pressure is critical to teaching your doctor about your overall wellbeing.
Height and Weight
Monitoring your height and weight as an adult may not feel important, but any significant changes in these two measurements can indicate various health conditions to a medical professional. If there are abnormal changes to your heart, your doctor may want to test you for osteoporosis or arthritis.
Additionally, significant changes to your weight can suggest a thyroid disorder or a need for a lifestyle change. Knowing your usual height and weight can help a doctor monitor your vital signs for an extended period of time.
General Services at Superior Urgent Care
The staff at Superior Urgent Care is prepared to give you high-quality, comprehensive medical care. We treat general illnesses seen at a family medicine clinic and other non-life-threatening conditions or injuries seen in emergency rooms.
If you are in need of medical attention, contact us online or call (817) 567-2926 today.