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Old 07-02-2012, 04:19 AM   #1
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Signifigance of Peak flow readings?


I have been having asthma like problems for about 8 weeks now, mostly a dry cough and severe breathing problems at night (wheezing, shortness of breath etc)

I went to docs 4 weeks ago and got given prednisolone for five days which worked like magic within 12 hours.. however ive started having problems again in the last two weeks.

I went to the docs again today who said it may be asthma (he did say it may be copd as i used to smoke though i stopped 5 years ago). Hes given me inhalers and i have to have x-rays etc. But he seems confident its asthma because its much worse at night.

Anyway the main test he did was a peak flow test?

Does anyone know how high these readings should be? Im 5ft 10, male and 40..and my readings kept coming out at between 590 and 600.. he had me do it several times! so obviously he was surprised at the result, but he didnt comment on just 'how low' that is?.

Finally do asthma sufferers here find they are much worse at night? Im fine most of the day, just the odd cough, but at night i struggle to even breathe.


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Old 07-02-2012, 08:50 AM   #2
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Re: Signifigance of Peak flow readings?

I looked at a chart online & see that your numbers were pretty close to normal for your height & age. That said though, "normal" is different for everyone. For those of us with asthma, we measure peak flows against our personal best to see how we are doing. And they always make you do it 3 times, normally you do it 3 times & take the highest of the 3 numbers. That doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have asthma though. Peak flows don't give the whole picture, and are more used as a quick check to see where you stand at a given moment than as a way to diagnose. An asthma specialist might give you a pulmonary function test, or a methacholine challenge test to help diagnose. As far as being worse at night, that is common, although not always the case. When my asthma is not well controlled, am usually at my worst in the even hours (maybe 7-10 pm), but once I go to bed, if I lay still and don't talk or take deep breaths, my asthma settles down & I can sleep thru the night. It is totally an individual thing. What inhalers do you have? Have they helped you?

Old 07-02-2012, 09:32 AM   #3
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Re: Signifigance of Peak flow readings?

You might need to see a pulmonologist to truly determine if that's your issue. But the peak flow does sound OK for someone your age and size. But as the other poster said, that's not always a true determination.

Old 07-02-2012, 12:22 PM   #4
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Re: Signifigance of Peak flow readings?

Hey all thanks for the replies

I've been given two inhalers.. a preventer (beclometasone) and a reliever (salbutamol)

It's early days but it seems to be helping

I know I've got to have bloods, x-ray and spirometry still.. so I guess asthma, copd and lung cancer are being checked.

Obviously the last option is the.scary one.. bit I guess its unlikely given my age and positive response to steroids

Thanks again

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