How Does A Peak Flow Meter Work & How To Use It?

By Subodh / July 29, 2015

Are you suffering from asthma or do you experience a shortness of breath quite frequently? If your answer is a yes, then you need to own a peak flow meter immediately. A peak flow meter is a device that helps a person suffering from any kind of breathing disorders to monitor their inflow and outflow of air from the lungs. It is quite an affordable device that is user-friendly. It is portable also that enables the user to carry it with him if he is a frequent traveler. Measuring the flow air using this device helps in monitoring the symptoms of asthma and other such conditions, thereby offering you an opportunity to prevent a potential attack.

Read on to know more about how exactly a peak flow meter functions and why one should use it.

Peak Flow Meter

How Does A Peak Flow Meter Function?

Take a deep inhalation in such a way that your lungs are completely filled with air. Only when the lungs are full, the peak flow meter will be able to gauge the pace of air flowing out. A peak flow meter determines the peak expiratory flow, or the pace at which air expelled from the lungs flows out. There is a preset rate that will help in determining whether the lung is functioning at the desired efficiency or not.

Why Should You Own a Peak Flow Meter?

This device is a must for all those people who have irregular functioning of the lungs. It helps in detecting asthma or chronic bronchitis or any condition that is characterized by shortness of breath. Thus, it could help in preventing the condition to a certain extent. Using it regularly will help the person to keep track of the symptoms and lower the chances of developing asthma and other troubles. When the symptoms worsen, the reading deteriorates, and you would be able to schedule your appointment with the doctor.

The airways constrict when a person experiences an asthmatic attack, obstructing the flow of air. Using the peak flow meter will help the person to keep track of the breathing. And, a dip in the reading would always be beneficial for him to keep himself alert.

The person could use a peak flow meter under the following situations:

  1. If you have a family history of asthma or any such breathing disorders
  2. If you have a previous medical history of asthma
  3. If a child in your person has asthma attacks, that fall between moderate to severe
  4. If you or anyone in the family has been using medications to prevent and ease asthma for a prolonged time

Using a peak flow meter along with your regular medication for asthma could help in easing as well as preventing the condition.

How To Use a Peak Flow Meter?

Here is a step-by-step procedure to use the peak flow meter the right way to prevent asthma attacks:

  1. Sit down on a comfortable chair, your back supported adequately. Keep your spine and neck erect and in a single line. This posture is essential to prevent the lungs from experiencing any kind of pressure as you sit.
  2. Check whether the indicator of the peak flow meter is at zero.
  3. Take a slow and deep inhalation and allow your lungs to fill up completely.
  4. Place the mouthpiece of the device in your mouth.
  5. Bite the device gently with the teeth and close your lips to hold the device in place. Keep your tongue away from the mouthpiece of the peak flow meter.
  6. Exhale as fast and as powerful as you can. Ensure that there is only one exhalation that empties the entire lungs.
  7. Take the device from your mouth and note down the reading.
  8. Repeat steps 3 to 7 two more times to complete one reading cycle.

Exhale as hard and as fast as you can. Make sure you exhale the air in one single blow.

  1. Choose the highest among the readings noted. This number will denote the average daily peak expiratory flow. Record this number.

The ideal variation would be quite close to this number. Any drastic difference, up or down, should be noticed, and your doctor should immediately be informed. Thus, you could easily prevent any undesirable conditions. Sharing these records with your doctor could also help him to devise a better asthma management plan for you.

However, it is advisable to check with your doctor before your start using a peak flow meter. Have you ever used or come across someone who uses this device to manage asthma? If so, share your experiences with us and help others to manage the condition in a better way.

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