Peak flow

I am now starting to get concerned!! I have been reading many post where peoples peak flows are 350 upwards. As well as having Asthma I have what they describe as 'mild Emphysema (having peeped at the computer screen in the surgery and seen it describe as that) my peak flow rarely goes above 200 but unless I am doing something very strenuous like fighting with a super king size duvet cover which is trying to consume me, I do not get badly out of breath. Are there different sorts of peak flow readings?, I know at check ups with the asthma nurse she does use a different scale, but I thought the ones we use at home were standard readings.

3 Replies

  • Sandy

    You don't need to worry. Peak flows should really be used to compare how you are over a period of time, and you can't compare your own to anybody else. They can be a useful tool for the GP and for you for a self management plan, but you should use them in context of how you feel as well. Many people have peak flows significantly below the ""normal"" range but carry on with daily activities with no problem at all.

    The most useful measure is to find what is your best when you are well, and then to compare to that.

    There are charts of standard peak flows published - these show normal ranges by sex and age, varying by height. If you go to you can look at charts to see what would be indicative for somebody of your age, sex and height with normal lung function.

    The scale for readings changed a year or 2 ago so that might explain the difference with your asthma nurse. So long as you always compare like with like that isn't a problem.



  • It is fruitless to compare your peak flow to anyone else's; everyone is different, and even the so-called ""normal"" values can be some way off the reading that a fully-fit person can actually achieve.

    Peak flows come into their own when you compare your own reading at one point in time to your own reading at another point in time. Keeping a peak flow diary, and thus being able to plot your own peak flow over time, is a good way of monitoring how well-controlled (or otherwise!) your asthma is.

    So don't worry if your peak flow seems lower than other people's; how you feel is a much better indicator of wellness.

  • Thank you folks, yes I see where you are coming from, I vary very little , the highest I ever get is 250 which still seems pretty low to me - must try harder!!!

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