Anatomy & Physiology Respiratory #16

Question

Which vital sign is controlled by conscious thought?

Answers

  1. Pulse rate
    • Rationale:

      The pulse rate is an involuntary, not voluntary vital sign; therefore, it cannot be controlled by conscious thought.

  2. Blood pressure
    • Rationale:

      Blood pressure is an involuntary, not voluntary vital sign; therefore, it cannot be controlled by conscious thought.

  3. Respiratory rate
    • Rationale:

      The respiratory rate is the only vital sign that can be controlled by conscious thought and voluntary effort; therefore, an individual can both increase and/or decrease their rate of ventilation.

  4. Body temperature
    • Rationale:

      Body temperature is an involuntary, not voluntary vital sign; therefore, it cannot be controlled by conscious thought.

Overview

Vital signs are clinical measurements that indicate the state of an individual’s essential body functions. Vital signs include blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rates, and body temperature.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Of all the vital signs (i.e., blood pressure, body temperature, pulse rate, and respiratory rate), the respiratory rate is the only one that can be controlled with conscious thought coupled with voluntary effort. Persons are able to increase, or decrease, their rate of breathing. The other vital signs are involuntary and cannot be controllable with conscious effort.

Test Taking Tip

Ask yourself, “Can I control this function voluntarily?” for each answer option. Eliminate answer choices using this process to identify the correct choice for this question.

Video Rationale