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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.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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