Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
peak flow meter
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peak flow meter

What is the diagnostic signifigance of a peak flow meter and what are normal ranges for an average 25 year old.  I occasionally fell like i cant get good air in, no wheezing or asthma type symptoms, just an awareness of labored inspiration.  It last somtimes an hour or two, somtimes most of the day im at least aware of it, and sometimes i wont notcie for a week or more.  I have no respiratory problems persay, just get that feeling of breathing through a straw at times, though when this happened recently adn i had been aware of it, i tried the peak flow meter, and the readings were consistently over 525.  I have other people who are having no difficulty try the meter and they usually dont even get that high, so would this assume that im not really short of breath, and am getting plenty of air, and the symptoms are only perceived, possibly chronic stress?  If there were truly a problem would this not be lower.  Also, recently seen outpatient, and one of the things they did was the pulse oximetry(on the finger)and these symptoms were occuring, however the o2 levels were perfectly normal.  Again, would this not signify possibly something other than respiratory problem?
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Peak flow meters do not measure changes in the small airways of the lungs.  They are not a good diagnostic test for lung problems.  They are useful in monitoring asthma.  Normal values for peak flows are usually between 500-600 depending on age, height, gender and race.

This sounds like it may be stress rather than a respiratory problem.
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
If you are looking for a diagnosis of asthma, I wouldn't rely on a peak flow meter(PEF). Peak flows are useful when a person is having an asthma attack to monitor the progression of the attack and also to assess the response to bronchodilator therapy. If you want to know if you have asthma, speak with your physician about having a pulmonary function test done so they can work you up for asthma. A PEF of 525 L/min is normal for a healthy male or female. Generally, 400-600 L/min is normal for a healthy male and 300-500 L/min for a healthy female. Decreased values generally indicate larger airway obstruction. As I stated before, seek out your physician or a lung specialist (pulmonologist)to be properly diagnosed. They can run a variety of tests along with your medical history to properly diagnose you. Good luck and take care...
                                            J.C.I. RRT RCP
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for clarifying the Peak Flow Rate Numbers.  I was concerned when the RN said 500-600 is normal depending on etc. etc.

My pulmonologist gave me a nice Flow meter last month.  Mine registered 350 and my hubby who was with me and is a lot larger than I, registered 500. Doctor said these numbers were good for our size and our age.  

The enclosed literature lists ages, female vs male, etc. etc.

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