Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Monitoring Asthma Symptoms

Monitoring Asthma Symptoms

Generally,to gain or keep control of your asthma, it is important to monitor asthma symptoms. As the saying goes – that which cannot be measured, cannot be changed so you will have difficulty getting control of your asthma if you do not monitor asthma symptoms.

Mostly,patients do not understand how important it is to monitor asthma symptoms on a regular basis. Asthma patients who regularly monitor asthma symptoms use less asthma medication and have fewer visits to the doctor compared to asthma patients who do not monitor their asthma symptoms. 

Pediatric asthma patients who often monitor asthma symptoms, have fewer symptoms compared to children who do not monitor asthma symptoms or peak flows. So,it’s very important that both adults and children to have an asthma action plan to monitor asthma and then take appropriate action.

Your medical professional healthcare provider may base your asthma action plan on either asthma symptoms or peak flows. Research and statics has shown that both improve asthma control, but neither method is clearly the best. In both systems you will record data daily and take actions base on your written action plan.

Peak Flow Meters

With a peak flow based action plan, you will record your everyday peak flows and take actions such as increase or decrease the use of your asthma rescue medication. Recording your peak flows, following your asthma action plan closely, and bringing your recorded peak flows with you to your doctor’s visits are very important for this to work efficiently-

Peak Flow With Zone Indicators

The Importance Of A Peak Flow For My Asthma

A measurement of how well you can blow air out of your lungs. If your airways become narrow and blocked due to asthma, you can’t blow air out as well, and your peak flow values drop. Peak flow is measured at home with a small, inexpensive plastic meter.

Learn To Correctly Use Your Peak Flow Meter

Use it daily, and keep track of the results to help your medical healthcare provider learn about your asthma. This may also help you determine if your asthma is getting worse, even before even you have symptoms.

What Should Be Your Peak Flow Reading Must Be ?

Every asthma patients including the kids(parents/guardian),knowing their peak flow rate is an important part of asthma treatment, handling an asthma attack, and part of your asthma care plan. Normal peak flow is based on the followings:-
  1. Age
  2. Height
  3. Gender
  4. Race
You can refer a chart from your healthcare provider for both adults and children(as both are not same) and determine approximately what your maximum peak flow should be. Alternatively, you can ask your medical healthcare professionals to help you in the readings and have your peak flow calculated.

Most essential number is your personal best peak flow. Because your personal best peak flow may vary significantly from your predicted peak flow based on height, age, and gender, your personal best peak flow is very essential when you talk to your medical healthcare professionals on the phone or need to go to the emergency care. 

Finally Determine Your Personal Best Peak Flow 

Asthma Can Also Be Monitored Based On Symptoms

With a few simple questions you can determine your asthma control. Peak flows require some amount of physical coordination and can be especially difficult for young children.(That’s where care comes in from parents or guardians.) Asthmatics who do not want to use peak flows or cannot learn to use them appropriately, your doctor or medical healthcare providers can ask a series of questions related to your asthma and base treatment on your answers. 

This provides a very individualized approach to your asthma. Every asthma patient is different so you and your doctor can discuss how to best monitor asthma symptoms on an individual basis and decide suitable asthma action plans. 

Some common symptoms may include:- 

  1. Wheezing
  2. Chest tightness
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Cough
  5. Sleeping problems
  6. Poor performance at work or school(kids)
  7. Ability to exercise
  8. Frequency of asthma rescue inhaler usage
By consulting with your doctor on which of these symptoms is most bothersome or limiting to you, you and your doctor/medical healthcare providers can come up with an asthma action plan that is individualized to you and your asthma.

Nevertheless,whether your asthma action plan is based on peak flows or asthma symptoms, it is again very important you monitor your asthma in order to get it under control and manageable.

The zone system

Commonest action plan formats are the ZONE SYSTEM which is based on traffic lights-just for your understanding.

The GREEN ZONE explains how to manage your asthma on a daily (or regular) basis. In other words, it tells you what drugs to take on normal days when you are feeling good. 

The YELLOW ZONE explains signs to look for that your asthma is getting worse. (Signs can include symptoms getting worse, or a drop in peak flow.) The yellow zone tells you what additional drugs/steps to take to bring your asthma back under control. 

The RED ZONE explains when to contact a doctor or go to the emergency department.

The above information are provided by https://whatasthmais.com are not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your Doctor or health care provider for advice about your specific Asthma medical condition.