If a doctor has recently prescribed oxygen therapy for you or a loved one, then you need to learn as much as you can about the body’s respiratory system, including respiratory rates. Knowing how the body functions, especially how it breathes, is key to understanding how to use your oxygen concentrator. Keep reading to get a short overview of normal respiratory rates so that you can take this next step in your health journey.

What Are Respiratory Rates?

The respiratory rate is how many breaths a person takes in a minute. Normal respiratory rates are measured when a person is resting and breathing as they typically would without any excitement or activity. This is because respiratory rates can change depending on a person’s activity level and stimulation. If you’re trying to measure your respiratory rates, do so while sitting or lying down, at least 10 minutes after any type of activity.

How Do You Measure Respiratory Rates?

In the above section, we mentioned that you can measure your respiratory rates. Measuring how often you breathe per minute is a fairly easy process, since all you have to do is set a timer for one minute and count the number of breaths you take in that minute. Try not to change your breathing during that minute. Just breathe as you normally would, no deeper than usual, and wait for the clock to run out. If you can’t count and watch the clock, ask someone to help you.

What Are Normal Respiratory Rates?

A healthy adult should breathe 12-20 times in one minute. These should not be slow, deep breathes or short, shallow breaths. You should inhale and exhale easily, not forcing either process. Young adults who have recently turned 18 may only breathe 12-16 times a minute. Younger children between the ages of six and 12 may breathe 18-30 times in a minute, so don’t hold them to the same breathing standard as your older children.

This short overview of normal respiratory rates explains what respiratory rates are, how to measure them, and what is considered normal for your age range. Abnormal respiratory rates may be one of the reasons your doctor prescribed oxygen therapy, and that’s okay. With a high-quality used oxygen concentrator, your breathing should return to normal, and you can live a full, healthy life.