My respiratory rate

What is my respiratory rate?

The speed that you are breathing can be a useful measure of how well you are, we call this your respiratory rate.

A respiratory rate that is faster or slower than what is usual for you can indicate that you are becoming unwell.

Non-urgent advice: How to measure your respiratory rate

Before you have your respiratory rate measured, you need to be comfortable in your chair or in bed.

You should have not recently moved or exercised.

The person measuring your respiratory rate needs to watch your chest rise and fall and count how many breaths are taken during a full minute – they can use a stopwatch or clock with a second hand to time for a minute.

It is sometimes better to do this when you don’t know they are counting.  This is because your breathing pattern can change when you are thinking about breathing.

If you are anxious or in pain, you may breath more quickly than usual.

If you are asleep you may breath more slowly than usual.

Compare this number with what is usual for you.  You will find this information in your Keeping My Chest Healthy Care Plan.

Your Keeping My Chest Healthy Care Plan will also tell you what to do if these numbers are different to what is usual for you.