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Vital Sign Monitor: The Name Says It All

Apr 27, 2008
Many of the vital signs monitor measure the following five main bodily functions:

* body temperature
* pulse rate
* respiration rate
* blood pressure
* blood oxygen saturation

Vital signs monitors enable healthcare professionals to evaluate their patients quickly, enabling them to progress to other tasks more efficiently and focus on improving the patient's health. The advanced technology engineered in vital signs monitors makes them optimal for hospitals. However, because these vital signs monitors are compact and portable, they're perfect for use in homes, clinics, at the sites of a medical emergencies, etc. With this state-of-the-art equipment now available to the public, vital signs monitors will be increasingly used in the home as patients can be monitored by family and friends and receive treatment from healthcare professionals where the patient feels most comfortable. If you're caring for someone at home, you'll find the following information pertinent to your tasks.

Using vital signs monitors will provide critical information about a patient's state of health. They are a way of quickly assessing how serious an illness is and how well the body is coping with the resulting biological stress. The more unstable the vital signs are, the sicker the patient is. Vital signs can also mark the state of chronic diseases (i.e. hypertension). When manually taking vital signs, it's important to remember that the slightest error can have dramatic results. If there is user error or patient error, an accident or a mistake, false readings will occur. If these are not remedied quickly, improper decisions and treatment could possibly be carried out. However, using vital signs monitors will eliminate such errors. Nonetheless, it is of the utmost importance to understand exactly what you are measuring.

Body Temperature is checked in order to:

* Gauge how well the body stores and releases heat.
* Detect abnormally high body temperature (hyperthermia) or abnormally low body temperature (hypothermia).
* Monitor the effectiveness of some medications.
Though normal body temperature varies from person to person, the average is 98.6 °F. Temperatures may vary throughout the day, ordinarily being lowest in the morning and rising in the evening.
Pulse Rate is described as the number of beats per minute (bpm):
* Provide clues about the function and health of the heart.
* Determine whether the heart is pumping blood adequately.
* Monitor certain symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, or shortness of breath.
* Monitor medical conditions or the use of medications.

Respiration Rate is the rate at which a person breathes. The best time to measure this is when a person is resting. The normal rate for adults: 12-24 breaths per minute.

Blood Pressure measures the force of blood inside an artery in two measurements:

* Systolic Pressure - when blood flow is first heard, representing peak blood pressure that occurs when the heart contracts.

* Diastolic Pressure - when blood flow can no longer be heard, representing the lowest blood pressure that occurs when the heart relaxes between beats.

Blood Oxygen Saturation evaluates how well the lungs are providing oxygen to the blood during rest, exercise, or a medical procedure. Examines oxygenation and the saturation of hemoglobin in the blood
About the Author
To learn more visit our diagnostic instruments & medical supplies section or read more about the use of vital sign monitors.
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