Concerned about low Peak Expiratory Flow Rate

I was diagnosed with asthma at 16 after getting pneumonia. I never used an inhaler and still presumed swimming 4 days a week. I'm now 30 and just recently quit smoking marijunana after 10 years, never touched a cig in my life.

To top it off I suffer from GAD (generalize anxiety disorder and OCD). I read an article yesterday about marijuana and emphysema at a young age. This put me in panic mode and I quickly made an appointment with doc to been next week. I even went out and purchased a brand new FLOW PEAK METER made by omcrom. I came home and tested, my numbers were really low at 450, the highest was around 500. The normal rate for someone my age and height is 622. I'm barely at 450. I'm only 150lbs, not sure if this has any affect to score.

The meter I purchased 1/5 star reviews on amazon, mainly about the quality but some are complaining that the meter always shows 80-100 lower compared to other meters Not sure what to make of it. I'm scared and can barely focus. I just had a son, now I'm afraid I wont be around to see him grow up. I have no wheezing or any asthma attacks in my whole life.

Is there anything I can do to get my rate to normal or is it downhill from here? Please any insignt or reassurance will be helpful. I'm new to this.

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  • I even went out and purchased a brand new FLOW PEAK METER made by omcrom. I came home and tested, my numbers were really low at 450, the highest was around 500. The normal rate for someone my age and height is 622. I'm barely at 450. I'm only 150lbs, not sure if this has any affect to score.

    I have a mini wright peak flow with EU scale, which i think is the most common one prescribed by GPs/asthma nurses. Have a look at this page if you want more info on mini wright

    The normal value is only ever going to fit very few people, the majority of people will have best peak flows higher or lower than this. Your best peak flow is 500 and you say that you have no asthma symptoms, so I don't think there's anything to worry about as you seem to be managing fine with your current peak flow.

    If you want to increase your lung function then gradually increase aerobic exercise might help.

    Hopefully this will reassure you that having a lower than average pf is normal and being free of asthma symptoms is a good sign.

    I don't know a lot about emphysema, it's an obstructive pulmonary disorder, which is different to the reversable symptoms of asthma.

  • Welcome to the forum!

    I am very glad to hear you have stopped smoking (marijuana) and are going to the doctor.. Smoking (pot or cigs) isn't good for the lungs. It is good you are taking action now, before you start noticing symptoms. Stopping smoking will significantly reduce your risk of developing problems.

    I hope your doctor will give you reassuring news.

    The important thing about peak flow is to remember that the numbers are a normal *distribution* - That means that healthy people have a spread of values around the 622 for your height and weight. If you don't have any symptoms of breathing problems, you are probably just naturally on the low end of the distribution.

    As for COPD, one can't use peak flow to self diagnose COPD (emphysema or chronic bronchitis) . To diagnoses COPD, doctors look at two other numbers: FEV1 (the amount of air exhaled in the first second of an exhale) and FVC (the total amount of air exhaled). A COPD diagnosis requires FEV1/FVC < 70% .

  • A COPD diagnosis requires FEV1/FVC < 70% .

    Really...? That suggests I have severe COPD then... Mine are 25% of predicted at best. Ugh.

  • NurseFurby: if both are 25%, then the *ratio* would be 100%, would it not?

  • NurseFurby: FEV1/FVC is a ratio. Sorry if I wasn't clear. So if both your FEV1 and FVC are 25%, then your *ratio* would be 100%, very much above the COPD diagnosis threshhold. However, I understand that the ratio is only the starting point: They also take note of whether or not there is a normal FEV1 and the degree of reversibility, along with symptoms, and CT scans (to show evidence of airway changes typical for emphysema or chronic bronchitis).

    There is a debate about how to classify people with FEV`/FVC < 70%, low FEV1, and partial reversibility of obstruction: are they COPD+asthma, just COPD or just asthma?

    For more information, see advantage.ok.gov/CHCC/Publi... .

  • The highest peak flow I have ever achieved is 380. Seriously, consider yourself very very lucky. You sound very fit - yes I know this post is 3 years old. Of course you will be around for your children, you are in good health. I climbed Snowdon, 5 miles uphill, and my peak flow was only 210 - yes the Clinic did wonder how I did it!

  • The highest peak flow I can get is 210. I am scared to death. How do you go from 380 to 210?

  • It's back up after the clinic changed my medication!

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