WHY PEAK FLOW MONITORING?
Regular monitoring of patients' peak flow is extremely useful for controlling diseases of the airways, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.
Physicians and patients can find asthma attack triggers such as allergies and dusty environments, then choose the proper therapy.
Only with a peak flow monitor can modern asthma control plans be followed. The monitor gives the patient better, earlier and more objective information, to find breathing problems before wheezing and coughing begins.
WHEN TO MEASURE?
Regular measurement of peak flow values is important for monitoring your condition.
Physicians typically recommend taking one measurement in the morning and one in the evening on a daily basis. Measurements should also be taken when feeling poorly or experiencing shortness of breath. Always take measurements before inhaling any prescribed drugs.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN MEASURING PEAK FLOW?
Your physician is only interested in the HIGHEST peak flow value achieved during a measurement session. Please repeat the measurements until you feel you have gotten the best possible result for that session. In the event of declining results at each successive measurement, talk to your doctor. It may be a sign of unstable asthma.
Coughing during a measurement can produce erroneously low results so always repeat the measurement. If you want to perform continuous measurements sequentially, be sure to have sufficient relaxation after each measurement to ensure accurate results.
Please note that low peak flows indicate a pending asthma attack even though no symptoms are felt!
HOW TO PERFORM A MEASUREMENT?
Measurements can be performed while standing, or sitting upright.
For better comparability of your data you should always perform the measurement in the same position.
Hold the monitor with both hands.
Inhale deeply and hold your breath for a moment.
Cover the mouthpiece tightly with your lips.
Exhale into the measuring tube as strongly and quickly as possible!
Take the monitor away from your mouth and see your result in the display.
It is recommended that three or more measurements be taken sequentially.
SELF-ASSESSMENT WITH THE TRAFFIC LIGHT SCHEME
The "traffic light scheme" allows a patient to self-assess measured values to follow the progression of the illness. Self-assessment empowers patients to control their asthmatic illness in close co-operation with their physician. The physician determines a green, a yellow and a red area for the patients peak flow readings. As long as the values are in the green area, the lung disease is well under control. If the readings are frequently in the yellow area, the medication dosage should be increased according to the physician's recommendation. Peak flow results in the red area are dangerous! The patient should act as recommended by the physician or seek emergency medical treatment.
DETERMINING THE TRAFFIC LIGHT LIMITS
Generally patients determine their own personal best value. This is the highest value the patient can achieve under optimum conditions (free of symptoms, feeling well). [Example: 500 l/min.] The green area usually reaches 80% of the personal best value. [Example: 500 l/min x 0.8=400 l/min] The yellow area usually reaches 50% of the personal best value. [Example: 500 l/min x 0.5=250 l/min].