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Confused re peak flow

fraid profile image

What is a normal peak flow reading?Used it first time and max.170 is this good or bad?Looked up endlessly but just says compared to your ‘normal’ how do I know?What should it be?

11 Replies

Keep taking it and make a note. You will start to find out. At my best, mine is 500. At my worst it’s 300/350 when I’m having an attack. I am quite fit and the asthma nurse told me that 500 is high for a woman of my age. Everybody’s body is different so don’t compare yourself to anyone else. So, talk to your nurse and keep taking it. I have an app on my phone where I keep a note.

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator

HI Fraid, normal really is very different for everyone and as Cleansir says, you can't compare yourself to others. There are sites where you can calculate an estimate based on your age, sex, and gender but those are just averages so may not apply to you. I have severe asthma and my personal best is much higher than my predicted.

This post has much more detail for you about peak flow and may be helpful: healthunlocked.com/asthmauk...

fraid profile image
fraid in reply to Lysistrata

Thanks both for replies though link confuddled me more than ever! Does sound though like my PF is pretty low - max 130 today.Nowt I do can about it anyway & I don’t even have wheeze atm.Wonder how much my kyphosis affects PF,being all squashed up now presume lungs are too?

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator in reply to fraid

I'm no expert but pretty sure things like kyphosis and scoliosis do reduce lung function because like you say, lungs are squashed up!

It is on the lower end but you always need to compare against yourself. 130 or 170 for me would be absolutely terrible but for you it may not be that bad. I don't know how old or tall you are but if you're older and shorter that also tends to reduce peak flow.

If you want to know your best or see how you're doing asthmawise I would keep taking it at the same time every day before medication over a few weeks and see what it does. Maybe also do some readings before and after you need to take your reliever. A lot of variability day to day or within the day suggests asthma, as does a major improvement after you take the reliever. This should also give you an idea of what your best is.

fraid profile image
fraid in reply to Lysistrata

Thanks,have lost 6” height from multiple spinal #s - I’m now short!was 5’10 am 66 .Sounds like my PF pretty low.😬

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator in reply to fraid

Ugh that's rubbish with the spinal fractures especially if it does reduce lung function! But if your best peak flow is low it isn't necessarily bad asthmawise - may just be your normal now if asthma is otherwise ok. Might be that other ways of measuring your asthma work better - not everyone finds peak flow that useful though the UK seems to be very hot on using it. Mine is much better than predicted and still not that helpful as a measurement of what's going on.

fraid profile image
fraid in reply to Lysistrata

Thanks.Think will just go on how bad asthma is,not what is ‘normal’,wot dat?Cba even to fill in flow chart thing they sent,what’s the point.Too tired for extra stuff.🙄

What are you using to measure your peak flow? There are a couple of devices - if you're UK you're prob using a mini wright? See here, scroll down for the chart: patient.info/news-and-featu...

Thanks for reply & chart,yep it’s a mini.So my PF should be 2-3 times higher.Shall put that down to squashed factor then. 😁

There are charts readily available on line which show the curve - based on male/female and height and age - for example I am 5ft 2 and female . My target when I was in my 40's was 450 but now I am 60 it has reduced to 390.... type in peak flow chart. and you will get loads of images - easy to print and read out your personal target

Lysistrata profile image
LysistrataAdministrator in reply to Birthday60

Those are just average values based on a group of people of the same height, age and sex - not set in stone or targets to be met. They're just a starting point to give an idea before someone knows their best. Some people will have higher than predicted bests, some lower and some about the same as predicted, but the best should be used where it's known over the predicted value those charts give you.

Clearly fraid has factors which will affect her best lung function (kyphosis). As you say peak flow does reduce with age, but that's still relative to the person.

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