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Vital signs

Definition

Vital signs include your heart beat, breathing rate, temperature, and blood pressure. Your health care provider may watch, measure, or monitor your vital signs to check your level of physical functioning.

Normal vital signs change with age, sex, weight, exercise tolerance, and overall health.

Normal vital sign ranges for the average healthy adult while resting are:

  • Blood pressure: 90/60 mm/Hg to 120/80 mm/Hg
  • Breathing: 12 - 18 breaths per minute
  • Pulse: 60 - 100 beats per minute
  • Temperature: 97.8 - 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit / average 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

References

Simel DL. Approach to the patient: history and physical examination. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 6.

Review Date:1/21/2013

Reviewed by:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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