Asthma is an inflammatory condition of the airways. The walls of the airways have a tendency to be “sore” and because of this may be thought of as being sensitive to Allergies, Animals, Air pollutants,Colds & viral infections, Emotions, Exercise, House-dust mites, Medicines, Moulds & fungi, Pollen, Smoking which cause the airways to narrow. This makes it harder to breath out leading to the characteristic wheeze sound.
You can’t go in with a tape measure to measure this. Hence we use a peak flow meter.You reset the meter to zero. You take a deep breath, put your lips tightly around the mouthpiece and blow out as fast and hard as you can. You always measure the best of 3.
The peak flow varies depending on the time that you take it even for non-asthmatics. The peak flow is worst in the morning and at night andbetter in the middle of the day. Hence if you are very unwell and it is late seek help sooner as it may deteriorate.
You may keep a peak flow diary and this would help establish the level of asthma/control. It would involve measuring the peak flow and noting the number of puffs of each inhaler used.
You can also use the peak flow when your chest feels tight, use the inhaler and the repeat the peak flow.
The peak flow that you can do depends on your age, sex and height. There are charts on peakflow. com that allow you to predict your peak flow.
Please note these may have changed with the new meters.
Blue inhalers (Relievers) e.g. salbutamol, ventolin open up the airways and are good as relievers. They do nothing to treat the soreness.
Brown inhalers (Preventers) e.g. Clenil The idea of using the steroid inhalers is that the steroids treat the soreness and hence reduce the sensitivity so hopefully you won’t get wheezy or need the blue inhaler at all.
Sometimes people still need additional inhalers. These contain a long acting form of the blue inhaler that you don’t get used to.
The difference of how much medicine reaches your lung can vary from 5% to 15% depending on how good your technique, so it is important to look at this and please review the videos.
Spacers minimize the problem of technique.
Please click on the links to open or download the care plans –
This website has been revamped to meet the needs of the thousands of people with asthma who visit the site each day, either to find important information about asthma and how to control it
An excellent resource with useful video, audio, images and references relating to asthma.
NHS Choices – Asthma
Further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Asthma.