Peak Flow Meters: Does anyone else... - Asthma UK communi...

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Peak Flow Meters

Does anyone else experience problems after using their peak flow meters?

My best peak flow is 600 and i'm currently recording around 450. The problem is that after i blow into it in the morning it sets off an attack!! Within a couple of minutes i'm short of breath, tight chest and then dizziness and headache. After taking my reliever and headache tablets i usually recover after about an hour.

I've sent a text message to my consultant telling him of the problem and that i intend stopping my peak flow recording. He's not responded yet.

13 Replies

Hi Grumpy (Though I am sure you are not really), is this problem recent with the peak flow? I sometimes find if my airways are very twitchy, that blowing into a peak flow will set off things.

Hi Katina,

Thanks for your reply.

Yes its only started happening in the last few days. When i take my readings before i go to bed i get no reaction!! Even though my pf readings are not fluctuating much between morning and evening my lungs must be more 'sensitive' in the morning.

Hi Katina,

Thanks for your reply.

Yes its only started happening in the last few days. When i take my readings before i go to bed i get no reaction!! Even though my pf readings are not fluctuating much between morning and evening my lungs must be more 'sensitive' in the morning.

I have this sometimes - get out of breath after using the PF meter and at the moment the last blow tends to be worse. Also find blows can be variable; that was something I had on a larger scale when doing lung function tests - it was very hard to do it properly, I was knackered afterwards and my results were quite variable (cons just said oh, not significant...surely indicated something?!)

Also find I get dizzy afterwards sometimes but that tends to be when I put my head back and so think is related to something else I have going on besides asthma...hard to tell sometimes! Hope you get a reply from your consultant soon Grumpy and get something sorted.

Philomela variable results on lung function show that you haven't got the right technique/aren't putting in enough effort, and nothing more.

Usually to get a lung function result you have to get 3 blows within 5% of each other, so if for example you blew a 100% on your first one your next two would have to be between 95 - 105% for the test to be valid.

Thanks anzharry! Just a little odd because the first set I did the previous year when breathing was not so bad were fine and then this lot were all over the place and I was completely knackered afterwards - if that was not enough effort wonder what enough would have been like! Just wonder if it's harder to get it right/put in the effort when you're struggling. Cons was no doubt right about not being able to tell anything from tests, but she never actually listened to anything I said about finding it hard to breathe, or in fact about anything at all really.

I was quite embarrassed at the time at how crap I seemed to be at doing the tests, I am a wind player and singer so you'd think I would be good at this stuff lol

I think that variability can sometimes be significant. For example if your first blow is 60 then the second 55, then the third 48. Apparently this does happen with asthmatics and I know happens with me when my results are a bit rubbish. When we do spirometry at the hospital they right which blow was which on the graph paper.

If your results are all over the place that is probably just poor technique, it might not be poor effort Philomena just not doing it quite right.

Hi Grumpy

I'm dead impressed with a PF of 600. My best ever is 470 and I only managed it once!

I often cough quite a lot after doing my PF but I thought it was just me being feeble!

am also very impressed with PF at 600. my best is 380, and usually between 250-350...

Wow peak flow of 600, my best is 350 was 320 and I was elated. My consultant was amused, now I know why, Hope my lungs get up to 600. What numbers do the healthier people blow I wonder?


Gillcanlaugh, you can see predicted best peak flows here in a chart from the manufacturers of the standard Mini-Wright peak flow meter used in the NHS It varies for men & women with age & height

P.S. delete any spaces if copying and pasting

I see your 600 and raise you 660! Not that I get up there very often, it jumped up to that a couple of times after I started montelukast, from 540, so I knew it was working, then settled around 600. Currently around 550 but something is going on in there...

I can't see any advantage to these numbers though. Maybe they do mean my lungs are better, but generally it just seems to mean I have a hard time persuading people that actually my asthma is acting up - they hear a number in the 500s and think it must be ok, even though I don't really think that's brilliant if your best is 660 - I thought it was relative to your best, not ' oh well you can do that you must be ok'. And mine often doesn't drop even with symptoms.

Bryony, probably is technique though maybe also not being able to try hard enough that time. Just not sure how my technique got'd think the third set would be the best technique-wise!

Thanks for all the replies.

Have all those people with 'low' best peak flows beeen suffering from asthma from an early age and their lungs haven't developed fully? ? I've only been diagnosed with asthma for three years and before that considered myself fairly fit. I thought my best peak flow of 600 was about average for my age and size.

My consultant is not convinced that my current problems are down to asthma and referred me to a Cardiologist who i saw late yesterday and he did various tests on me and confirmed that i do have a heart!! and its working ok!! Going to hospital today for more lung tests.



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