Have you checked your vital signs - your body's most basic function
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Have you checked your vital signs – your body’s most basic functions

21 Dec 2020 LIFESTYLE


By Zuko Komisa

2020 has been a very challenging year from a health perspective. This is perfect time of the year to check your vital signs – your body’s most basic functions. The human body has a way of letting you know that there is a potential danger that might lead to an undesirable result, so it’s important to know what health risk signs you may have before things get critical.

What are vital signs?

These are the four main vital signs routinely monitored by medical professionals when they see a patient: your body temperature, your respiration rate (rate of breathing), your blood pressure, as well as your pulse rate. Vital signs are important indicators of the state of your health.

The body’s temperature

A normal body temperature of a person varies depending on the following – your gender, recent activity, food and fluid consumption and time of day. Normal body temperature can range from 36.5 degrees C to 37.2 degrees C for a healthy adult. A temperature reading of 38 degrees C and above usually means that you have a fever. There is a reason why the first thing you do is feel your forehead when you think something is wrong with you.

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You can check your temperature in the following ways:

  • Orally
  • Under the arm
  • Inside the ear
  • Rectally

Your respiration rate (rate of breathing)

A respiration rate is the number of breaths you take per minute, and a healthy adult’s respiratory rate is 12 to 20 breaths per minute. Watch out for a respiration rate under 12 or over 25 breaths per minute as this is highly irregular.

Pulse rate

Knowing your pulse rate is an important gauge to know if you have a healthy heart. The average resting heart rate for an adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The maximum pulse rate is 220 minus your age.

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Blood pressure

Your blood pressure needs to be within the normal range, the recommended reading being any blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 mm Hg in an adult.

Knowing your vital signs helps you assess your general physical health, gives clues to possible diseases and shows progress toward recovery.


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