What Are Normal Values for Vital Signs?


Quick Answer

Normal values for the four basic vital signs are blood pressure 90/60 mm/Hg to 120/80 mm/Hg, pulse rate 60 to 100 beats per minute, breathing 12 to 18 breaths per minute, and temperature 97.8 to 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit. These values are for an average healthy adult at rest, reports MedlinePlus.

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Full Answer

The four basic vital signs, blood pressure, body temperature, pulse rate, and breathing or respiration rate, are a measure of an individual's level of physical functioning. These signs are used for detecting and/or monitoring medical conditions, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. They vary with age, sex, body weight, overall health status and exercise tolerance, states MedlinePlus.

Blood pressure comprises of two parameters, systolic and diastolic pressures. Recorded as millimeters of mercury, or mm Hg, these measure the pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and the pressure within the artery when the heart is at rest, respectively. High blood pressure indicates increased resistance to blood flow and elevates the risk for heart attack or stroke, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Pulse rate measures the number of heart beats in a minute, and respiration rate measures the number of breaths taken in a minute. These rates fluctuate with illness, extreme emotions and physical activity. Body temperature above or below the normal range indicates the presence of fever or hypothermia. This value can be measured orally, rectally, under the arms and on the skin of the forehead, states Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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