Thursday, October 17, 2019 10:19 pm
Mrs Mariam Lawani, a Nurse working with a private hospital in Jigawa has urged Nigerians to ensure that their vital signs are taken when they visit the hospital.
According to her, the vital signs, also known as resting heart gives a basic view of their overall health.
Lawani made the call on the sideline of the ongoing annual National Health Dialogue in Abuja on Thursday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
She observed that most Nigerians do not have a clear understanding of normal test results and what it meant to their health.
“When a nurse takes your vitals, obtain your height and weight, document your pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature and respiratory rate, they all make up a vital sign,” she explained.
She said that a normal “resting heart’’ rate falls in the range of 60 to 100 Beats Per Minute (BPM).
“By taking the measurement of the pulse, it is also necessary to take note of any irregularities in the rhythm of the pulse.
“To take your pulse and measure your heart rate, you can place your fingers on the pulse point of your wrist for 20 seconds and count the number of times you feel the blood vessels pulsing against your fingertips.
“Multiply this number by six to get the number of BPM,” she said.
Lawani said that a regular heartbeat (Tachycardia) should be faster than 100 BPM while at rest.
She said “when a heart beats too fast, it may not be able to adequately provide the organs and tissues with oxygenated blood.
“This could lead to lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pain, a racing feeling in the chest, and difficulty breathing.’’
The nurse said that conditions that may trigger tachycardia include heart disease, anemia, smoking, fever, electrolyte imbalances, and changes in blood pressure.
She also explained that a heart rate could be considered too slow (bradycardia) when it is less than 60 BPM.
“Conditions that may contribute to bradycardia are heart disease, thyroid disorders, and side effects of medication.
“Exceptions to this rule are athletes who have a low resting heart rate due to the heart-strengthening effects of physical exercise,’’ she said.
The nurse said that a normal blood pressure reading was less than 120/80 mmHg, adding that blood pressure that measures between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg was at risk as it was too high.
“A person with hypertension or high blood pressure has blood pressure readings of more than 140/90 mmHg. Many individuals usually do not notice the symptoms early enough.
“Low blood pressure on the other hand is blood pressure lower than 90/60 mmHg.
“Postural hypotension may occur when a person goes quickly from sitting to standing, causing a drop in blood pressure,” she explained.