Peak Flow Meters : Hi everyone, if you... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

18,419 members22,666 posts

Peak Flow Meters

Helen0909 profile image

Hi everyone, if you have been diagnosed with asthma, a peak flow meter could really prove to be your best friend. A peak flow meter is a simple yet extremely effective tool. Peak flow readings can help indicate any changes in your asthma and could help heaps in your management. Do ask your doctor for a meter, if you think one could help. Helen x

14 Replies

Agree entirely have also got vocal chords dysplasia and sometimes do not know if its asthma or vocal chords making me short of breath so use my peak flow meter to let me know♥

Helen0909 profile image
Helen0909 in reply to starveycat

Im so sorry to hear you have vocal chord dysplasia, and i hope today is a good day for you. Im glad to hear that your peak flow meter helps you..its a great tool to have near isnt check how you are doing deep in your lungs and shows quickly if there are any changes to consider..wishing you a lovely weekend..Helen x

Wizzer profile image
Wizzer in reply to Helen0909

I completely agree with you helen0909. I use my peak flow meter regularly as it gives a better indication how my asthma is going than just relying on how I feel. My gp explained that I could feel rubbish but have a good peak flow reading, but could also feel not too bad and have a poor reading and need to get checked out. So I think a peak flow meter really should be an essential part of every asthmatics life.

-Butterfly- profile image
-Butterfly- in reply to Wizzer

Yes sometimes I feel rubbish but my peak flow isn't too bad, and other times I'm shocked how low it is when actually I feel fine. I'm never sure what to do in this situation though. I usually stick with taking ventolin when I feel rubbish and not when it's just my peak flow that's low. I'm new to this though so not 100% sure what's best!

Hi Butterfly, its great that you have a peak flow meter. Ive had severe brittle asthma all my life (52 yrs) and i find the peak flow meter one of the best gauges to show how you are doing deep down in your lungs. Its a simple but such an effective tool to help monitor your asthma. When you feel rough yet your peak flow is ok genuinely means that you are getting a good amount of air deep in your lungs..which is reassuring, but, never ignore how you are feeling, if your blue inhaler is not giving you relief, always check back with your GP as he may want to check your management plan and pop in additional medication..its always good to keep a daily record of your peak flow sure you are great at knowing what your average normal peak flow is and if you see any drop in your readings that stays lower than 75% of your normal or you just feel rough, do have a chat with your doc to check that your asthma is under control. I hope this note helps and if i can help you further in anyway at all with any asthma issues please do ask..i hope this note finds you well and wishing you a lovely sunny morning..this lovely dry air spell most of us are having is a bonus for our lungs..Helen x

I have only just been diagnosed so am on a steep learning curve! My peak flow is all over the place at the minute so I know what my highest reading is, but no idea what an 'average' reading would be!

You mention about the weather, can this affect how your lungs behave? It's a lovely day here today.

My lungs are having a particularly bad day today, I'm still waiting for the preventer to start to work, certainly haven't seen any improvement yet, if anything it's getting worse!

Hi so sorry to hear that you are having a bad day and if i can help in anyway i will. Asthma can feel very isolating, but you are not alone. Firstly if your asthma is making you struggle, then please do contact your emergency services. Do not wait or suffer. It is true that your preventative inhaler takes time to work, and this could be why your peak flow readings are all over the place. Until your asthma is controlled better, please do not wait if you feel you are struggling. In relation to your peak flow, if your highest reading was taken on a good day for you, then for now, take this as your " good" number, you want to be aiming up to 75% of that reading..but until you have seen your GP or asthma nurse to check your technique and to agree your "good" average number..go with your highest on a good day..and your highest you can do at the moment and compare..once you have been doing your peak flows and recording them down for a while, you will see a pattern for yourself forming and you will become familiar as to what are good or bad readings. Certainly you will see any changes which could indicate changes in your asthma. Yes, the weather will make a difference. Your lungs will generally be alot better and less sensitive on dry fair days..However, rainy damp days, fog, snow or very hot days can affect your asthma, again its very individual, but as your asthma is new to you, you may find it beneficial to keep a diary so you can inform your gp or nurse. Once your preventer inhaler kicks in, this will help protect you to a degree against the elements as that inhaler helps to stop the lungs becoming inflamed. I hope you feel better soon, but please contact your emergency services if your blue inhaler isnt working. Never struggle. Helen x

I have a peak flow which I am really not sure how to use. Somewhere along the way I have lost the instructions and do not understand what the good or bad reading should be. Perhaps you can help? I get digestive problems which definitely make me breathless and sometimes I am not sure whether it is the asthma or digestion!

Helen0909 profile image
Helen0909 in reply to Karjade

Hi, you also mentioned that you have digestive problems. You are right. Heartburn and digestive issues do indeed play havoc with asthma. Its worth having this checked with your GP as he/she can prescribe different strength indigestion meds to get on top of the indigestion. Worsening asthma and indigestion have been linked for quite a while now. I would definitely take indigestion remedies if you are feeling breathless & have bad indigestion as this could help with your symptoms. (Steroids..Prednisolone. .can also irritate the stomach lining, just something to note if you are ever on them, though this would normally only be if you are on steroids for any length of time. i would also not take indigestion remedies at the same time of day as steroids though)..Helen x

Minushabens profile image
Minushabens in reply to Karjade

Hi Karjade

What is good and bad is judged according to your height & gender so you need to work out your own personal levels. If you search for "peak flow charts" you will find plenty you can print off. What they give you is a range of readings, so you will find that 'good' will be between abc & xyz. However, your health advisors can also help you to judge. My reading isn't even close to the minimum for a bloke my size but as long as it is stable & my breathing is OK, they are generally happy about it.

If you get a chart & can't work it out (you need to have a bit of knowledge of how graphs work) just say :-)

Hiya, thanks for your reply. I hope this note finds you having a lovely sunny morning..a peak flow meter is a fantastic tool and flag to help manage your asthma. I will always try and help with any concerns or questions you may have in regard to your asthma. Ive had severe brittle asthma all my life, and if i can help in anyway, i will. In regard to your peak flow meter, of course, i will try to help. As i cannot actually see how you are doing it, its probably best with this issue to make an appt with either your GP or asthma nurse who can check your peak flow technique. However, the basic rule is to take the deepest breath you can, filling your lungs so it feels as though you are pushing your tummy out, then wrapping your mouth tight around the meter mouth piece, blow hard and fast. I find it very useful to keep a diary of the readings. The readings shown on the meter will give indication of how you are filling your lungs deep down. Your gp or asthma nurse can advise what your normal average is for you as it is a very individual thing. Once you have got blowing into the meter nailed, and keeping a diary of your readings, you will soon pick up when your lungs are doing well and more importantly when you may need to seek professional help, as if your readings drop and do not recover or if you are just feeling rough, never wait, contact your health professionals. im sure you will find the peak flow meter a really useful tool, and its another way of taking control of your asthma management. Wishing you a lovely weekend..Helen x

sorry but my peak flow meter does not work for me anymore.. I used to use it all the time and record each time I did it... but I have put my meds up and down all the time and it didn't help after 40 years of having asthma, my peak flow is always quite low anyway.. but I can tell when I need steroids and when I need to go to hospital without knowing what my peak flow is.. nowadays I only use it if I think I need more steroids, so that the dr knows how low it is... as for hospital, usually if its that bad I can't use it at all...... I am on the highest dose of everything anyway, so can't go any higher... but if it works for you then do it! :D

Helen0909 profile image
Helen0909 in reply to Alliecat

I totally understand. I know when i go to hospital im not capable or want to do sets of peak flow readings. Ive been on steroids for years and have home oxygen if needed and yes definately you get to know your own body and when your body needs more steroids. I do agree. I find an oxygen sats finger machine very useful and takes no puff. I do take regular peak flow readings on a normal day to check any alterations is a personal thing. It is a great tool for anyone either new to asthma or who have very brittle asthma like me. Helen x

I have asthma so dies my eldest son I was on a peak flow when pregnant with my youngest son Sam I suffered from pulomony embolisms when I was pregnant and was very ill with it as the clots was on my lungs so made it hard to breath then on top of that I had a serious asthma attack was on a ventolator for sometime I was 8 months then I came out hospital week later I was induced .my eldest son also had a asthma attack last novemeber bonfire night I was nursing in a care home was due to do a night shift so I took Alex doctors as he was struggling he was given a nebuliser but said to be admitted to hospital so he was in 2 nights I went hospital with him and he was stable and breathing ok on his own so I waited for his dad to stay with him I went to work and finshed 8am went back the hospital to see him rang number of times threw the night check on him .that night he came home with me

You may also like...