It seems to me that fewer physicians and health care providers know that self-monitoring for prevention of asthma is available and worthwhile patient instruction. Which organizations in 2011 are promoting peak flow meter use for asthma management?
Years ago, thanks to a pharmaceutical company's partnership with Jackie Joiner-Kersee, a champion athlete, I started using a peak flow meter to manage my asthma along with inhaler medications. As an older asthmatic with less physical activity, I'm now on a cortisone inhaler with a rescue inhaler being used less and less.
It seems to me that there are fewer physicians and health care providers familiar with the use of peak flow meters for people with asthma.
If health care providers encouraged use of peak flow meters as a daily monitoring health aid, I think most of us asthmatics could stay healthier.
When I get a respiratory infection, I seem to deny that I am getting worse. My peak flow meter tells me the real story. Usually I can puff 350 liters/minute. If the rate goes below 300 liters/minute, I know it's time to call my doctor.
Some doctors have free peak flow meters provided by pharmaceutical sales representatives. Most drug stores have a variety of peak flow meters. Preventative health care costs less and saves lives!
Many doctors are now teaching their patients to monitor their symptoms instead of the peak flow meter as a patient will usually become symptomatic several days to even weeks before peak flows drop. More frequent rescue inhaler use, cough, night cough, cough after exercise and several other symptoms are very early signs that will arise usually before peak flows drop. Watching for these types of symptoms can get the patient to contact their doctors earlier than than just watching for a drop in peak flow.
I use a combination of the two. I almost always have a cough so just going by that is not helpful. I watch for an increase in cough and the drop in peak flow.
The first thing I was told by my doctor when we thought it was asthma was to buy and use a peak flow meter. My doctor won't start allergy shots until my peak flows were consistent for a month ... However it did make a couple of things confusing. My symptoms didn't line up with number most of the time, my "best" was 420 but I was sympomatic at 380-390 which didn't make sense .... that is best my personal best at this point (2 years later) is 500. Which means 80% IS 380 and that is why I was sympomatic.
Although my peak flows don't show the same big drops as other people, I feel like I'm going to pass out and all dizzy and can't breathe at 350-360. I guess that is because I passed the methacholine challenge so it porbably isn't asthma .... lol
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