Using Peak-Flow Meters for Your Asthma
Peak-flow meter is a small softball size portable device which is sold in the market at a very economical price. This device is easily use to measure the air flow in your airway. As and the rate at which air moves through the lungs and airways is called Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR).
It is important to know that a peak-flow meter is a device used to monitor air flow and not to diagnose the asthma.
A peak-flow meter is a useful device that helps you to determine and identify asthma symptoms and also personal asthma triggers. It helps you to detect whether the airways are narrowing or stethoscope detects any wheezing sound. Before the the asthma worsen, initially you can seek help from your asthma management plan and PEFR to take some additional medications.
Peak-flow readings help you and your doctor to conclude that the medicine plan is working fine or not. Your doctor will increase or stop your medication according to your PEFR.
Who Should Use a Peak-flow Meter?
Normally it is suggested that people who take asthma medication daily to make a peak-flow meter as their routine usage. In early weeks after diagnosis, peak-flow meter is used to assess airways’ response to prescribed medication and helps to figure out and changes happen over time between readings and exposure to asthma triggers.
The guidelines published in 1997 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests that if your are older than five years of age and is a victim of moderate or severe asthma, you are required to use a peak-flow meter on a daily basis for a long term period.
Mild, Moderate and Severe Asthma
With mild asthma you get mild attacks just once or twice a week. Symptoms of mild asthma are irregular. With mild asthma, your breathing reading on peak-flow meter should be about 80 percent as strong as it should be. The breathing rate with mild asthma will remain almost the same during day and night time. With such condition, your doctor may suggest you to inhale short-acting beta 9 agonist during asthma attacks.
Within few minutes this inhaler or reliever medication will help you to have comfortable breathing. Whether you have mild or severe asthma, it is better to keep a record of your breathing patterns in asthma diary using peak-flow meter.
Moderate asthma victims can have more than one asthma attack within a week. Severe coughing, wheezing and serious breathing problems can be a part of your attack. The peak-flow meter should be measured as 60 to 80 percent normal breathing rate. Moderate asthma attacks make breathing difficult for you at night time.
A corticosteroid (a long-term controller) every day and a short-acting beta agonist (a quick reliever) are recommended during asthma attacks.
However, in the case of severe asthma, the victim might have an asthma attack daily with chronic cough as one of symptom of severe asthma. Like moderate asthma, the severe asthma also makes breathing difficult at nights. The breathing rate on peak-flow meter would measured as half of the normal rate.
Higher dosage of an inhaled corticosteroid (a long-term controller) every day and a short-acting beta) agonist (a quick reliever) will be recommended.