Diagnosis and peak flow numbers, my experiences

Hi, bit of a long ramble this but it might help people just being diagnosed and wondering about peak flow numbers.

If it helps there are some charts you can find online. I found this one (see second page): rcht.nhs.uk/DocumentsLibrar...

However as I understand it, there is really no such thing as a typical peak flow. Age, height and sex make basic differences, reflected in that table, but so will general fitness, exercise, sports activity, health history etc. etc. You name it. What's a good number for you is not the same for someone else.

I started diagnosis four months ago... and its still being refined. I was given a reliever and peak flow meter to test with. I took my peak flow before the inhaler and then again a little while after the inhaler and kept a diary of the numbers for two weeks. In my case, my starting number was quite near the chart expected number, and after the inhaler I was higher than the expected number. The thing was not really what the number was, but what difference the inhaler makes. In my case about 20%.

Also add to that how you feel. I feel rough at 500 and below, good at 600. My personal best, after inhaler, is about 650. These are numbers others dream of. Others are overjoyed to get 400, but struggle around at 320 usually. Some are lower. But that isnt the point. To be 20% down from my normal number is when I have asthma symptoms, or vice versa. Others might find they have similar or different tolerance.

So this showed I needed the inhaler - I have asthma. If I didnt have asthma, there would be little or no difference after the inhaler and definitely not 20%. Some days I was pretty fine anyway and others not so.

Diagnosis is all a bit trial end error. Annoying and frustrating when these days we tend to have a test for everything and an answer in ten days.

After taking my charts back to the nurse and doctor, I was confirmed as a mild sufferer, but 'see how it goes'. I still had just a reliever for use as a when I needed it. Aparently the magic number is needing the reliever more than three times a week.

A month on and one heavy cold/persistent cough later, I was only scoring 400~450, very low for me. So doctor gave me a regular preventer inhaler and my first course of 'pred'. I'm on day two so see how it goes. The journey, diagnosis and management refinement continues...

Last edited by

2 Replies

oldestnewest
  • I was diagnosed with Asthma/COPD. At the ripe age of 47 adult asthma never had it don't know what happened just got it It had destroyed my life taken me from being a very active working everyday woman to a retired been hospitalized 17 times from exasperation and I take 3 inhaler a day have a rescue inhaler also have a nebulizer machine when needed. Everything sets my asthma off Strong cologne, cleaning products, room sprays, tart burners, all kinds of stuff the weather too cold to hot. It so stupid. It's scared my lungs from attacks. So believe me Asthma is not to be messes with.

  • Well done for starting to get a grip on your asthma we are all different and need different meds to keep our asthma well control.

    3 or more times a week is the magic number that your asthma isn't under control.

    I going to suggest you ring asthma UK helpline as I can see you have lots of questions they will help you get your brain around it all. Asthma can be scary and frankly pants !? The way to deal with it for me was to arm myself with the correct understanding and work with my doctors and asthma nurse. I am in my second year of moderate asthma on preventive inhaler, monkelaust (I have allergic asthma) feel really well most of the time.

    You will be alright.

You may also like...