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Normal Adult Vital Signs

A Reference Guide for Patients and Caregivers

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Updated May 23, 2014

If you are a person with COPD, or a caregiver who takes care of someone with COPD, understanding normal adult vital signs is essential. Why? Because knowing what is normal will help you better understand what is not normal and when to seek medical attention.

Remember, normal adult vital signs may change with age, sex, weight, exercise tolerance and physical conditioning. Let's take a look at a quick reference guide to normal adult vital signs:

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Temperature:

  • Oral - 98.6 F
  • Axillary - 97.6 F
  • Rectal - 99.6 F

Respirations:

  • 12 - 20

Pulse:

  • 60 - 100

Blood Pressure:

  • Systolic: 100 - 140
  • Diastolic: 60 - 90

Oxygen Saturation Level:

  • 95% to 100%

Keep in mind that most people with COPD can function just fine on saturation levels as low as 90%. Be sure to ask your doctor at which level she wants your oxygen saturation.

It is important to understand that variations from the "norm" when it comes to adult vital signs does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. For example, in a patient who has a blood pressure of 90/50, are there any symptoms that this blood pressure is not perfusing their vital organs, such as their brain or heart? In-other-words are they confused, dizzy or lightheaded? Do they complain of blurry vision or heart palpitations? Some patients can tolerate a lower blood pressure with no symptoms, and this is normally not considered to be problematic. Remember, however, this tool should only be used as a reference guide to normal adult vital signs and should not replace sound, medical advice or attention.

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