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Vital signs

Definition

Vital signs include the heart beat, breathing rate, temperature, and blood pressure. These signs may be watched, measured, and monitored to check an individual's level of physical functioning.

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

Normal ranges for the average healthy adult vital signs are:

  • Blood Pressure: 120/80 mm/Hg
  • Breathing: 12 - 18 breaths per minute
  • Pulse: 60 - 80 beats per minute (at rest)
  • Temperature: 97.8 - 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit / average 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Review Date: 2/23/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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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