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correlation between peak flow and symptoms?

A,m still have a significant increase in symptoms at the moment, not yet brought under better control by the increase in Seretide dosage. No infection, I think, but lots of morning coughing and scary wheeziness, tight chest and more rapid, or harder work breathing during the day, and a strange sensation of having to breathe out first before breathing in, everything feels the wrong way round. But I see no real drop in my peak flow, which compared to last year's flare-up average of 300, is much better this year averages 350 - 370, and reaching personal best of 390 now only very infrequently. This morning's episodes calmed after several ventolin puffs which then took my peak flow to 400, a new high, but I don't usually see such great reversibility, more often between 6 - 12 %. I see some members here have a much wider variability, and therefore possibly more correlation between symptoms and peak flow reading? I am not wishing dramatic drops in peak flow, of course, but with minor to moderate variability, there seems to be no other way of forecasting a worsening of my asthma, rather than observing symptoms, and I am not sure I am entirely a reliable witness! As they are either sneaking up on me (increasingly the case), or I am perhaps over-obsreving my breathing in case of them sneaking up.

I am wondering what the case is with others?

4 Replies

The corporally here for me is a fear of not knowing when things are REALLY serious and afraid that I might end up seeking medical help inappropriately (either too late or without real necessity,possibly embarrassing with a seemingly safe peak flow), if you know what I mean???



My peak flows tend to be all over the place like I might get 480 when I am ok but in 20 min can drop to less than 200 but then with the ventolin can come back to like 300. So my asthma nurse told me to take it this way:

If I am getting symptoms or peak flow is dropping take from the ventolin 2 puffs if this is enough and I am better than good stay at home if not then I can take upto 10 puffs and if after that I am better see the gp if not give them a visit at the hospital

This is the latest plan I got agreed upon as i cannot use my peak flows only to decide how good or bad I am usually I ask one of my friends or family if I look ok to them as its much easier to judge that way but i noticed whenever i get the doubt of going to see someone its better to go now than later.

Also my drs tell me that they rather see me more offen and tell me things r fine thaan wait till its too late

Hope this explains things

Also u can ring the helpline or ask for a referral to a cons

Get well soon


thanks Yas, I will have to find a way of devising my own action plan, the one the nurse made for me was very simple, and entirely based on peak flow. You are right of course about seeing the doctor if in doubt; i felt last year that i was never out of the doctors whilst both diagnosis and medication were being assessed, and as they (that surgery) don't like to dole out steroids, and I was being told by othe rmedics that they were the only way to reduce the inflammation, then there was also 'some' disagreement about best course of action, and I had in the end to dig my heels in and demand the steroids, given them eventually and in my view, two months too late to be effective quickly or without further damage. And eventually referred to a cons.

Anyhow, as a result, whilst I generally have a good relationship with my doctor, I still bear scars from feeling that I was camping out on their doorstep last year, and so try to avoid or minimise visits if at all possible.

And on that subject (possible stiffening of the airways), does anyone else feel sometimes that there is a rod-like feeling to the windpipe as if there was a knitting needle down there?

So many questions from me at the moment! Still new to this and trying to figure out the spectrum between normal and abnormal and anywhere in between. Anxious? Who Moi? :)


Hi Winnie,

I'm sort of with you on this one. I tend to be a cough-y asthmatic and i very rarely wheeze, in fact a friend who knows me really well, including in an asthatic state after finishing running races commented last year ""you're actually wheezing!""

Anyway, even if i'm in a state of very frequent coughing i can usually blow a peak flow somewhere within my normal range (400-440) but then that will set off another coughing fit!

Sometimes i even wonder to myself if the cough is asthma or something else though if in doubt i usually take the inhaler and more often that not it settles the cough, at least for an hour or 2


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