Vocabulary for Vital Signs

Term Definition
Apical Pulse The pulse on the left side of the chest, just below the nipple
Apnea The absence of breathing
BPM The medical abbreviation for beats per minute
Brachial Pulse The pulse located inside the elbow, about 1 to 1-1/2 inches below the elbow
Bradycardia Slow heart rate, under 60 beats per minute
Celsuis The centrigrade temperature scale in which the boiling point of water is 100 degrees and the freezing point of water is 0 degrees
Cheyne-Stokes Respiration Alternating periods of slow, irregular respirations and rapid, shallow respirations, possibly along with periods of apnea
Diastolic Second measurement of blood pressure; phase when the heart relaxes
Dilate To widen
Dyspnea Difficult breathing
Eupnea Normal respirations
Expiration The process of exhaling air out of the lungs
Fahrenheit A temperature scale in which the boiling point of water is 212 degrees and the freezing point of water is 32 degrees
Hypertension High blood pressure, regularly measuring 140/90 mm Hg or higher
Hypotension Low blood pressure, below 90/60 mm Hg
Hypothermia Severe sub-normal body temperature; body temperature drops below the level required for normal functioning
Inspiration The process of inhaling air into the lungs
Orthopnea Shortness of breath when lying down that is relieved by sitting up
Orthostatic Hypotension/ Postural Hypotension A sudden drop in blood pressure that occurs when a person stands or sits up
Prehypertension A condition in which a person has a systolic measurement of 120/ 139 mm Hg and a diastolic measurement of 80/ 89 mm Hg
Radial Pulse The pulse located on the inside of the wrist, where the radial artery runs just beneath the skin
Respiration The process of inhaling air into the lungs (inspiration) and exhaling out of the lungs (expiration)
Sphygmomanometer A device that measures blood pressure
Stethoscope An instrument used to hear sounds in the human body, such as a heart beat or a pulse, breathing sounds, or bowel sounds
Systolic First measurement of blood pressure; phase when the heart is at work, contracting and pushing blood out of the left ventricle
Tachycardia Rapid heart rate, over 100 beats per minute
Tachypnea Rapid respirations, over 20 breaths per minute
Thermometer A device used for measuring the degrees of heat or cold
Vital Signs Measurments- body temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure, and pain level- that monitor the functioning of the vital organs of the body
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