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Peak flow meter

Hi, I just received my first peak flow Meter and tried it today. This morning it was 30 and just now it was 35. I just wondered what the readings should be if one did not have asthma, and whether this is a bad reading?

Thanks for all your advice so far,.

17 Replies

Er - do you mean 30 and 35 or is it actually 300 and 350?

There are charts that can help you with this, because a lot will depend on your age and height. If you google the make of your peak flow metre and request 'chart', that should give you a rough guide of whereabouts you should be. I say 'rough guide' because inevitably there is quite a lot of variation from individual to individual. Mine, for example, is considered to be at the low end of what would be normal for my height and age, even when I am perfectly fit and well.

It will take you a while to get a real idea of what is normal for you. To start with it might be an idea to take a reading both before you use your inhaler and about half an hour after (to give your inhaler a chance to take effect) both in the morning and the evening, and keep a record so you can see what is happening. If you need to use your reliever inhaler, do the same thing (before and after you use it) and make an additional note of that as well.

The other thing you need to know is that you do three attempts each time you use your PFM, and you record the highest score you achieve of the three.

Hope this helps:-)

in reply to MaggieHP

Hi, yes it is 300 and 350 sorry! It was 375 tonight, so going up a bit. Its an Italograph so will google and have a look. Thanks so much for your help.

Yes 35 doesnt sound right. Double check if it might be 350 & then check back here. If it's showing 35 you might just be blowing in wrong, or it isn't running correctly.

in reply to Minushabens

Sorry its me - it is 350. I did it this morning and it was 300 but didnt really know what to expect then did it in the afternoon and it was 350 and just did it now and its between 350 and 400. But I dont know if thats bad or good - its halfway up the scale and it is just a simple peak flow meter. There were not many instructions with it.


Minushabens profile image
Minushabens in reply to

You can find plenty of charts online, eg this one:

You match your age, height & reading and they show you where you are relative to a norm. If you need a bit more help reading it let us know.

in reply to Minushabens

Thanks for that, I was just looking but didnt really know what I was looking for According to the chart you sent, my top reading would be 430 as I am only 5ft, so I guess I´m not too bad then - what a relief. I was really starting to panic again and was reading about COPD and other scary stuff.

Minushabens profile image
Minushabens in reply to

Good, I'm glad it's roughly where it needs to be :)

The trick as you know is to keep track of it & if you find it suddenly dropping that's the time to shout.

in reply to Minushabens

Ha problem is though that its very tempting to keep on having a go to see if I can get it any better!

Seriously - thanks for your support, I feel a little less panicked now.

Minushabens profile image
Minushabens in reply to

There are different ways of measuring how good your PF is; one is to compare to your personal best. So in one sense knowing what you can do is no bad thing. However, you'll probably just irritate your airways if you keep doing it over & over! Also you'll see from the graph that it varies with age.

I'll be honest I've never been good at taking mine, probably through having had asthma all my life & not even knowing what one was for 20-odd years, but it sat in my cupboard for years only to be used when I felt wheezy. But I've been a bit better lately since developing other lung problems, but I'm still a bit lazy with it though!!

in reply to Minushabens

Thanks for your reply. You're right, I better stop playing with it. I'm 60 and it's the first time I've had breathing problems. Given that I live alone in Tenerife and my Spanish is not so good I am finding this difficult. I just hurt my back as well carrying too much heavy water so seem to be on a complete downer at the moment. It's not easy getting old!

MaggieHP profile image
MaggieHP in reply to Minushabens

These days I'm good using mine if my breathing starts to get tight or if I go down with a cold, when it becomes prudent to keep an eye on it. So not unlike you Minushabens. But if you are new to asthma, it's a good idea to use it every day for a while just to get to know what is normal for you.

At 60 Faraway 2 you are a mere child :-) if its any help I take my readings two days a week when I get up and after tea. You seem to be having a tough time of it hopefully things will soon improve for you wishing your back soon improves, gentle hugs ♥ being 51, I'm positively newborn :)

Faraway; based on you being 60 & 5 foot tall, I get the 'normal' reading from the chart to be about 370 - 375, so when you are well that suggests your lung restriction isn't too bad. Obviously when the shortness of breath kicks in that's a different story.

It's fairly natural to feel fed up when you are told you have something like asthma, but I'm sure once you get used to the medication & get a balance with things it won't feel so bad.

in reply to Minushabens

Thank you for taking the time to check the charts for me. If I'm not too bad then I have a lot of sympathy for those of you who are worse as I cannot imagine how awful it must be for you. My heart goes out to you all.

My biggest fear is that steroids will worsen my osteoporosis, which is now so bad it's off the scale of the machine ! Still, there is not a lot I can do about it so I guess life will get more interesting from here on.

Thanks everyone

Minushabens profile image
Minushabens in reply to

Remember as well about the charts that you have to think in percentages, so a 30 point drop for you may represent a more significant worsening of symptoms than for me (over 6 feet tall & male).

in reply to starveycat

Thank you, big hugs back x

When I was in hospital. My reading was 230 - 250. After a few days it went upto 300 - 350. The other day it was 400. Best contact your Asthma nurse to ask advice.

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