Asthma UK community forum
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Advice for new member please?

Hello, just joined today. I didn't develop asthma until 2010 after owning a diesel for two years, but of course the smoking from my teens didn't help either. Managed to kick the habit but use e-cigs now. Haven't had an asthma attack for a few years but had a recent review and my lung capacity is just over 300. Previous reading was 340 about 4 years ago. Should I be worried? The nurse was pretty apathetic and said it should be 550 for someone of my age and build.

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Hi pffft2017

Welcome to the forum. Do you have a written asthma action plan? If your peak flow drops, then that should tell you what to do. If you don't, you can download one from our website and fill it in with your asthma nurse.

Peak flow readings vary depending on your gender, age and height. They will also vary at different times of the day, which is why you should always take your peak flow both morning and night.

There may be times when your peak flow reading is lower than your personal best. This could be a sign that you need to take action to stop your asthma getting worse. Talk to your GP or asthma nurse about what low readings you need to look out for. They will use your personal best to work out what readings you need to look out for that show you’re at risk and need to get help.

Ultimately, peak flow is just one of the ways in which you can keep an eye on your asthma, and it should be used alongside other tools such as a written asthma action plan. Don’t forget to record your symptoms alongside your peak flow and jot down what you have been doing during the week so you can get an overall picture of your asthma and spot any changes, such as the start of symptoms, so you can get help when you need it.

More information about peak flow and the action plan can be seen here: bit.ly/2tBuFdJ

You can always call the Asthma UK nurse helpline on 0300 222 5800 (Mon-Fri, 9am -5pm) for advice and support.

Hope that helps,

Dita

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Thanks very much for your invaluable advice Dita. I wasn't even aware of the asthma action plan, was I supposed to have been supplied with my own peak flow monitor? Reading some of the posts on here I should count myself lucky that the reading was about 300, but it was just a bit of a shock when the nurse said the normal reading should be 550. Many thanks.

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Hi pffft2017

The medical guidelines doctors follow recommend that everyone with asthma has a written asthma action plan. A written asthma action plan includes all the information you need to look after your asthma well, so you're likely to have fewer symptoms and significantly cut your risk of an asthma attack.

You fill it in with your doctor or nurse – they’ll make sure each section is personalised for you.

Take it to all your asthma reviews and appointments – your GP or asthma nurse may need to update it.

Keep it where you can find it easily – on the fridge, for example, or take a photo of it on your phone so you have it with you everywhere. bit.ly/2rswbf0

Hope that helps,

Dita

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Thanks again Dita, you know more than any 'asthma nurse' I've encountered.

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I don’t want to worry you, but there is a large increase in lung disease related to e-cigs, the worst manifestation being something called “popcorn” lung. The uptick in cases is so severe there is a massive amount of legislation being drawn up. It’s possible e-cigs will disappear unless they can find a way to make them safe.

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I assume you're referring to bronchiolitis obliterans caused by inhaling excessive amounts of diacetyl, a food flavouring which is strictly regulated in the manufacture of e-liquids? The amount used in some e-liquid flavourings is so negligible as to be irrelevant, you'd probably breathe in more diacetyl by opening a bag of Butterkist than by years of vaping. If the NHS are now supplying e-cigarettes in it's smoking cessation programs, I doubt they'll be banned anytime in the future. If not for e-cigs I would still be smoking. I used to work with a powder that had 4% asbestos in it, drive a diesel and have an open fire. E-cigs are the least of my worries thanks all the same.

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As you say It does seem as if vaping is relatively speaking a much safer option for you. Have you considered using the nicotine lozenges instead? I hope you keep well.

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