Asthma and Peak Flow
Asthma, a chronic respiratory disease that constricts and inflames the airways causes excess mucus to form in the lungs and a narrowing of the airways. Some of the symptoms are wheezing, shortness or breath, coughing, and tightness in the chest. Allergens or excessive exercise that causes a severe constriction of the airways is called an asthma attack.
On way an asthmatic person can detect if they are going to have an attack is by using a peak flow meter. This is small analog or digital device that a person breathes into to measure their peak expiratory flow or peak flow for short. Peak flow measures how fast a person breathes out when that person tries his or her hardest. Basically, it tells a person how well his or her lungs and airways are functioning.
Peak flow assists people with asthma by telling them that an asthma attack is likely to occur. If a person’s peak flow is low then the person’s asthma is bothering him or her and likely of an attack increases. This may be caused by triggers that increase the asthma symptoms such as pollen, cigarette smoke, or dust. A peak flow meter also help a person detect these triggers and steps can be made to remove the person from the triggers.
Measuring peak flow is also often used to access if certain asthma medications are helping a person or not. If a person’s peak flow measurement is low then it may be a cue to change or increase medications to alleviate the asthma symptoms and prevent the likelihood of an asthma attack. If a peak flow is very high, then it may be possible to reduce the dosage of medications. No changes to medications should be made without the consultation of the doctor.
Today, asthma is a very serious disease that affects millions of children and adults worldwide. It is a good to learn and have a good knowledge about this chronic respiratory disease at all times.Who knows one day you or someone you know may or might have asthma.