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Vital Signs – 6 Things a Doctor Can Tell Simply By Looking at Your Vital Signs

by Aishwarya Gaikwad
Vital Signs - 6 Things a Doctor Can Tell Simply By Looking at Your Vital Signs

Your vital signs offer a world of insight into the current state of your body, so if something doesn’t feel quite right, a doctor will often use diagnostic sets to piece together the clues and arrive at a diagnosis. 

Vital signs include your body temperature, respiration rate, pulse, and blood pressure, and they’re often the first things a doctor will look at when you’re feeling under the weather. 

Have you ever wondered what a doctor can discover from these tests? Here are six important things they can reveal: 

  • Your Body Temperature Indicates More Than A Fever 

Chances are, you’re pretty used to having a thermometer placed in your ear or across your forehead for a quick temperature reading, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic. A doctor monitors your body temperature to discover if you have a fever. However, the results can also indicate:

  • If medication is reducing a high fever;
  • Whether you have hyperthermia;
  • Whether you have hypothermia); 
  • If your body is fighting off an infection. 
  • Your Pulse Measures More Than Your Fitness 

You probably know how to measure your pulse. However, a doctor can piece together a surprisingly complex puzzle just by measuring the regularity and speed of your heartbeat. 

Measuring your pulse rate also tells a doctor the strength of your pulse and the rhythm of your heartbeat. Based on one minute’s study of your pulse, a doctor can discover:

  • Your hydration levels – whether you’re dehydrated or overhydrated;
  • Symptoms of diabetes;
  • Whether you’ve consumed too much caffeine;
  • Your current stress levels;
  • Your cardiovascular fitness;
  • The impact medication has on your heart rate.
  • Your Respiration Rate Reveals Your Lung Function

Your respiration rate is calculated by how many breaths you take per minute. The average for an adult is between 12 and 16 breaths every minute, so it makes sense that if the number of breaths falls considerably above or below this average, it’s indicating that something’s not quite right. 

If a person struggles to breathe or finds their breathing patterns have changed, the first thing a doctor will do is check their respiration rate. Whether the results indicate a higher or lower respiration rate will open up potential doors to various diagnoses. 

  • Whether Your Respiration Levels Are High Or Low, A Diagnosis Is One Step Closer

As previously mentioned, your respiration rate can offer valuable insight when searching for a diagnosis. 

If your respiration levels are too high, it could indicate:

  • Asthma; 
  • Dehydration;
  • Infections (like flu and pneumonia);
  • Fever. 

If, on the other hand, your respiration levels are too low, it could suggest:

  • Sleeping problems (like sleep apnea);
  • Side effects of certain medications;
  • Use of alcohol and/or drugs (both illegal and prescribed).
  • Symptomless High Blood Pressure Can Take Lives 

High blood pressure is often titled “the silent killer” because high blood pressure comes with almost zero symptoms. 

If it’s not picked up and controlled, high blood pressure can have catastrophic consequences, including:

  • Heart attacks or heart failures;
  • Strokes;
  • Impaired memory;
  • Aneurysms. 
  • Low Blood Pressure + Context = Diagnosis 

Generally speaking, the lower your blood pressure, the healthier you are. However, if your blood pressure is low, and you’ve been experiencing symptoms like fatigue, depression, blurred vision, or nausea, it could indicate an underlying problem. A medical professional will check your blood pressure and discuss your symptoms to understand whether your low blood pressure needs further investigation. 

Your Vital Signs Are Vital To Your Doctor

While these tests are considered routine, they can reveal a whole world to your doctor. When you are next in the clinic, you’ll know how many clues are uncovered just by checking your vital signs. 

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