Why Peak Flow Meters are Vital For Asthmatics

What You Need to Know About Peak Flow, Peak Flow Meters, and Your Asthma

girl breathing into peak flow meter (spirometer)
Young girl breathing into peak flow meter (spirometer). Getty Images/ADAM GAULT/SPL

What Is Peak Flow?

Peak flow demonstrates how quickly you can blow air out of your lungs. The peak flow meter is marked so you can determine how much air you can blow out. The better your asthma is controlled, the more air you will be able to blow out.

When Is Peak Flow Used?

While not a good tool for diagnosing asthma, peak flow, and peak flow meters are good to monitor asthma over time. You may see declines in your peak flow prior to developing significant symptoms.

This will allow you to alter your treatment regimen based on your asthma care plan.

What Do I Need to Do?

It is important to find your ‘personal best’ peak flow using your peak flow meter. In order to accomplish this, record your scores from your peak flow meter every day for two weeks while you are well. This peak flow can then be used to guide your asthma treatment. When your asthma is poorly controlled, your peak flow will be less than your ‘personal best’ and you may also notice a slow decline in peak flow prior to developing asthma symptoms.

How Is Peak Flow Performed?

It is important for you to learn how to use your peak-flow-meter appropriately.

What Is Your Biggest Asthma Problem?

We want to help you get control of your asthma. I want to hear about your biggest asthma problem so that we can try to help you develop a solution or better understand how to help.
 You are probably not the only one with the problem.

Take a few minutes describing your problem so we can develop a solution together.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: January 1, 2009. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

Clinical Pulmonary Function Testing, Exercise Testing, and Disability Evaluation. In Chest Medicine: Essentials Of Pulmonary And Critical Care Medicine. Editors: Ronald B. George, Richard W. Light, Richard A. Matthay, Michael A. Matthay. May 2005, 5th edition.

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