Starting a peak flow diary and tracking your levels alongside daily symptoms and general health is really important to understand your asthma better. It can help you identify any triggers and know when you need to speak to your doctor or increase your medication during a flare up.
What is a peak flow chart?
Peak flow measurements are a vital tool in the management of asthma that you can use to understand your symptoms and help prevent serious asthma attacks. Peak flow measurements are most useful if they are displayed on a chart or graph rather than just written down as a list. A peak flow chart helps you and your doctor to analyse your peak flow and recognise the pattern of your asthma and how it changes over time.
From a detailed peak flow chart, you can easily see the pattern of your asthma state, finding out what triggers your asthma, and even predicting future asthma attacks.
Why is it important to track your peak flow?
If you only measure your peak flow when you have an asthma attack, you will never get a full picture of how your asthma changes over time, what are the worst triggers for your asthma, and how you could control your asthma better.
You can easily track your peak flow in paper peak flow charts as well, but nowadays having an app automatically tracking it for you is just so much easier. This is why we created Smart Asthma app, where you can easily add your peak flow details manually as well as automatically record them from the Smart Peak Flow meter.
If you are using a preventer medication, but still having regular symptoms or asthma attacks, it is important to tell your doctor as there are lots of other medications they can try. There are a number of different preventer inhalers that are stronger or deliver different types or combinations of medication to keep your asthma under control. There are also further treatments available which your doctor can discuss with you. All these can better be adjusted based on a detailed peak flow diary.
When you have not had any symptoms for a while, there is always a temptation to reduce or stop your preventer medication as you feel like you don’t need it any more. Be careful, as it may well be that taking the preventer inhaler is what is keeping your asthma under control and stopping you having symptoms! Always talk to your doctor first before adjusting the dose.
Short term vs. long term peak flow monitoring
Short-term monitoring (2-8 weeks) may be useful for you if you need
- assistance in the diagnosis or exclusion of asthma
- help to identify asthma triggers
- to monitor response to a new treatment, a new inhaler or a change in dose of your medication
- to calculate the “trigger point” for your asthma action plan
Long-term monitoring may be useful for you if you
- have frequent flare-ups / exacerbations
- have severe asthma with little warning signs of flare-ups
- are anxious or tend to over-treat minor events
- are a poor perceiver of airway narrowing (you have only a few or no symptoms when your airways narrow, or you have become used to chronically poor lung function)
How Smart Asthma app can help you with measuring your peak flow?
We, at Smart Asthma, suggest every asthmatic monitors their peak flow at all times, since it can help you spot your asthma triggers, helps your doctor properly adjust your asthma medication to your actual asthma condition, and by recognising CompEx events, you can accurately spot warning signs in your recordings, find out that your medication regime is ineffective and you need to adjust your preventer inhaler dosage or use it differently.
Smart Peak Flow with the Smart Asthma app does all these for you, you only need to blow the peak flow meter regularly, and the app does the rest for you.