Asthma UK community forum
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Peak flow 650 but highly symptomatic

Sorry for so many posts, just very confused and so are my doctors. My peak flow seems to slightly actually improve when my 'asthma' symptoms kick in. What's going on?

Such symptoms include:

- Tight chest chest, jaw/throatand abdomen.

- Cannot breath too deeply or through nose much. Cannot feel 'cool' air going down throat.

- Vision loss/sweating

- Bradycardia

- Either breath holding leading to low SPO2 unless I force a breath, or short breaths (not hyperventilation)

6 Replies

I wish my peak flow was anywhere near that high. Best I can do is 350. Are you sure anxiety isn't causing some of it? When you get over anxious you tend to hyperventilate and make symptoms worse. Have you told your nurse/doctor? What do they say? x


I cannot seem to hyperventilate - no dizziness, racing heart, pins and needles etc - and I do have difficulty exhaling and there is no doubt blue inhalers help. It's just that I never cough or wheeze. It feels like asthma and responds to asthma meds but isn't typical of asthma. I can't find anyone who holds their breath or gets slow heart rate with asthma.

Over 5 years we have tried 10 different anxiety meds. They all make me worse by restricting my breathing further.


I also tend not to cough or wheeze, but was diagnosed with asthma this year because of constant winter colds and poor peak flow (opposite of yours!). I get the impression that peak flow is not much of a guide to symptoms, so I wouldn't read too much into that. I guess there is "typical" asthma, but also atypical sorts, so we probably fall into the latter category. From my limited recent experience, doctors seem to treat symptoms as if typical then, if it doesn't work, try something else. If you've found something that does work, then I would tend to stick with it; I can't find a single corticosteroid which doesn't give me undesirable side effects, so I'm putting up with the colds again, though the Ventolin helps me a bit, too. Oh, and by the way, I also have sinus bradycardia, so I guess it's not that uncommon.


you can be asthmatic and still have a good peak flow. Peak flow shows the large airways are open and working but the small ones could still be causing you bother.

There could be an element of anxiety affecting you as well, the tightness in the throat and chest could be due to holding your body tighty / tensely without even realising you are doing it. Have you tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

1 like

Yeah I've worn out all the anxiety angles like CBT, Mindfullness, drugs and even alternative stuff like Hypnotherapy. At the same time I am praying it actually is anxiety alone as I have a phobia of chronic illness.


I hope you and the docs can figure it out :)


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