Use Your Peak Flow Diary - Asthma UK Homepage

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Use yourpeak flow diaryto stay confident with your asthmaNoting your peak flow scores every day shows you if your asthma’s worse and when you need to take action when your medicines are keeping your airways openAny asthma questions?Visit any timeCall our friendly expertnurses Mon-Fri; 9am – 5pmwww.asthma.org.uk 0300 222 5800

Welcome!What is peak flow?Your GP or asthma nurse might have recommended using apeak flow meter and recording your scores in a peak flowdiary. Here we explain how it can be helpful and how to do it.Peak flow is a measurement of how quickly you can blow air out of your lungs: If your airways are tight and inflamed you won’t be able to blow out so quicklyand your score will be low If you manage to blow out quickly and forcefully you should get a high score.This tells you that your airways are open and working well.Peak flow is just one of a number of ways you can keep aneye on how well you are. Your symptoms and how you feelwill always be important, too.Whether you’re recording your peak flow scores every day, orfor a set period of time as advised by your GP or asthmanurse, you’ll get the most out of your peak flow diary if you useit alongside a written asthma action plan. Your asthma actionplan will tell you what to do when you notice symptoms, or ifyour peak flow drops below a certain score.If you have any questions about peak flow, how to use yourpeak flow meter, or how to fill in your diary, you can call ourHelpline nurses on 0300 222 5800.About you and your peak flowName:My daily peak flow planIn the morning I’m going to take my peak flow:GP or asthma nurse contact number:My best peak flow (when I am well) is:eg. after breakfast/before gettingdressed in the morningIn the evening I’m going to take my peak flow:When my peak flow dropsbelowI need to talk to my GPor asthma nurse or follow the agreedsteps in my asthma action planeg. before I sit down for the evening/when I’m getting ready for bedIt’s a good idea to check your peak flow throughoutthe year even when you’re well. This means you canmonitor seasonal changes in your airways and identifyany triggers such as cold weather or pollen.says Asthma UK’s Head of HelplineTOP TIPSHere’s why some of ourFacebook followers findchecking their peak flow useful:I totally recommend doing peakflow. It helps me track when I’mgetting worse so I know when I needto go to the doctor.Rachael DalmonI use a peak flow diary and recordany symptoms I have and what I’vebeen doing. This helps to build awhole picture and give the consultantand myself extra information to helpcontrol my asthma.Michelle BenjaminI definitely recommend using peakflow in conjunction with an asthmaplan. It’s a very good indicator whento take the next course of action andto nip things in the bud, especially ifyou have difficult asthma.Sam MurphyYou can get a peak flow meterfrom your GP, asthma nurseor pharmacy.3

Know your scoresHow will peak flow help me?Measuring peak flow can be areassuring way for you to keep an eyeon your asthma. Some of us find it hardto admit that we’re not feeling well,and it can be easy to miss symptomssometimes. A low peak flow score canhelp you spot when your asthma’sgetting worse.Recording your peak flow can alsohelp you feel positive about yourasthma – a good score shows how muchof a difference you can make to yourairways by sticking to your asthmamedicines every day.You can take your peak flow diaryalong to your asthma review, and anyother asthma appointments, to showyour GP, asthma nurse or consultanthow your asthma’s been.Use your peak flow diary to: help you feel confident that yourmedicines routine is really helping –it’s especially useful if you’ve changedto a new medicine or a different dose get an early warning of when yourairways are struggling, even when4you might be feeling OK, so youcan take quick action to avoid anasthma attack help you keep a close eye on yourasthma after an asthma attack get a better idea of what’s going onin your lungs so you can explain yourasthma to friends, family and your GP identify triggers or allergies that couldbe making your asthma worse.TOP TIPSI’ve not been very good at admitting tomyself when I’m unwell so my GP madepeak flow part of my asthma plan.Grainne TimlinI tend to use mine just when I knowI’m coming down with a cold or have achest infection. Usually I have a big dropin peak flow at this time. The peak flowmeter is handy just to keep an eye onthings. Keep it next to your preventerinhaler for ease of use.Kerry DaviesSwap tips at www.facebook.com/ AsthmaUKPeak flow scores vary depending onyour age, your height and whetheryou’re a man or a woman. Peak flowscores also vary at different times of theday: it’s normal for your peak flow scoreto be lower in the morning becausepeak flow falls overnight.Keeping a diary of your own individualpeak flow scores over time helps youand your GP know what score to expectwhen you’re well and what scoressuggest your asthma’s getting worse.What does your best score tell you?The score that’s usual for you whenyou’re well is sometimes called your‘best’ score. Knowing your best peakflow score helps you know what ‘good’looks like so you can feel confident thatyou’re managing your asthma well.If you’re using your medicinesas prescribed and following youraction plan, you should stay quiteclose to your personal best peakflow score most of the time.What does it mean when yourscore is lower than usual?There will be times when you getlower than your usual score. Alower than usual score lets youknow when your asthma’s notdoing so well. Talk to your GP orasthma nurse about what lowscore you need to watch out for.When you get this score you needto take action. Either see your GPor asthma nurse or follow the stepsyou’ve agreed in your writtenasthma action plan.You need to check your peak flow: every day, twice a day to get a useful pattern of scores at the same times of day, in the morning and in the evening before you take your asthma medicine otherwise it will changethe score using your best effort each time you blow into the meter soyou’re comparing like with like using the same peak flow meter each time.If you’re worried about how you’re feeling don’t wait fora lower than usual peak flow score before you seek help.says Asthma UK’s Head of Helpline5

When you first get a peak flow meter ask your GP, asthma nurse or pharmacist toshow you how to use it and how to take a reading. When you blow into your peakflow meter, do it three times and take a note of the score each time. All three resultsshould be roughly the same, but it’s the highest score that you need to write on thepeak flow chart.Warning symptomsGetting startedWEEK 1MDay of the weekUsed reliever inhalerHad asthma symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, tight chest, coughing or wheezingTW TWEEK 2FS S How to record yourpeak flowAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM800720680660600580560540520500scores to fill in your diary.AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMIf you experienceany of these warningsymptoms put a tick in thebox for that day.If you have at least onetick a day three times aweek or more, or if you’vewoken up at night withasthma symptoms evenjust once in the week, seeyour GP or asthma nurse.7006 Write down your score (the number next to the pointer) 17405 Blow as hard and fast as you can into the meterSThere are threesections to fill in:7806202Twice a day recordyour peak flow scorewith a cross on the chart.480460440420 Keep your peak flow meter with yourpreventer inhaler to make life easy–and keep your peak flow diary and penwith them too. Don’t forget to record your symptomsalongside your peak flow and jot downwhat you’ve been doing that week. Ifyou have symptoms but your peak flowhasn’t changed you still need to speak toyour GP or asthma nurse.FFeeling like you can’t keep up with yournormal day to day activities 640 Get a good routine – tell yourselfexactly when you’re going to takeyour peak flow and write it downeg. ‘I’m going to do my peak flowbefore I leave the house in themorning and before I go to bedat night.’ Don’t worry if you forget oneday – just pick it up again the nextday to get a useful pattern of scores.T 3 Take a deep breathTips to help you keep goingW 2 Stand, or sit upright (choose what’s easiest for you and always do it that way)7 Do this 3 times in a row so you get 3 scores – and use the highest of these T How to use your peak flow meter4 Make sure your mouth makes a tight seal around the mouthpieceMWaking at night with asthma symptoms7601 Pull the counter back as far as it will goS3Use this section tonote down anythingunusual or different thatmay be the reason for alower than usual peakflow score in a week –eg. ‘I was stressed’;‘I exercised on Tuesday’;‘I came into contactwith a pet.’400380360340320300280260240220200180160With a bit of practice taking peak flow gets easier for most people. Ifyou’re finding it difficult, or if you feel breathless or tight-chested afterwards,speak to your GP or asthma nurse, or call our Helpline for advice.says Asthma UK’s head of Helpline(Call our friendly expert nurses on 0300 222 5800, 9am – 5pm; Mon – Fri)6140120Weekly comments: anythingunusual this week that might haveresulted in a lower score? e.g. ‘I wasstressed’, I exercised’, ‘I came intocontact with a pet’.The pollen has made my asthmaworse this week. I also visited Janewho has a cat.My asthmahas been very upandStartrecordingyourdown this week. I think I have beenpeakflownowexerting myself too hard at gym.7

Warning 460480520540560580620640660680720740760780Weekly comments: anythingunusual this week that might haveresulted in a lower score? eg. ‘I wasstressed’, I exercised’, ‘I came intocontact with a pet’.200300400500600700800Feeling like you can’t keep up with yournormal day-to-day activitiesWaking at night with asthma symptomsHad asthma symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, tight chest, coughing or wheezingUsed reliever inhalerDay of the weekTWTWEEK 1FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMTWTWEEK 2FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMwww.asthma.org.uk/advice/resourcesFeel free to photocopy empty pages to add them to your diary or download more from our resources section at

Warning 460480520540560580620640660680720740760780Weekly comments: anythingunusual this week that might haveresulted in a lower score? eg. ‘I wasstressed’, I exercised’, ‘I came intocontact with a pet’.200300400500600700800Feeling like you can’t keep up with yournormal day-to-day activitiesWaking at night with asthma symptomsHad asthma symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, tight chest, coughing or wheezingUsed reliever inhalerDay of the weekTWTWEEK 3FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMTWTWEEK 4FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMwww.asthma.org.uk/advice/resourcesFeel free to photocopy empty pages to add them to your diary or download more from our resources section at

Warning 460480520540560580620640660680720740760780Weekly comments: anythingunusual this week that might haveresulted in a lower score? eg. ‘I wasstressed’, I exercised’, ‘I came intocontact with a pet’.200300400500600700800Feeling like you can’t keep up with yournormal day-to-day activitiesWaking at night with asthma symptomsHad asthma symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, tight chest, coughing or wheezingUsed reliever inhalerDay of the weekTWTWEEK 5FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMTWTWEEK 6FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMwww.asthma.org.uk/advice/resourcesFeel free to photocopy empty pages to add them to your diary or download more from our resources section at

Warning 460480520540560580620640660680720740760780Weekly comments: anythingunusual this week that might haveresulted in a lower score? eg. ‘I wasstressed’, I exercised’, ‘I came intocontact with a pet’.200300400500600700800Feeling like you can’t keep up with yournormal day-to-day activitiesWaking at night with asthma symptomsHad asthma symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, tight chest, coughing or wheezingUsed reliever inhalerDay of the weekTWTWEEK 7FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMTWTWEEK 8FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMwww.asthma.org.uk/advice/resourcesFeel free to photocopy empty pages to add them to your diary or download more from our resources section at

Warning 460480520540560580620640660680720740760780Weekly comments: anythingunusual this week that might haveresulted in a lower score? eg. ‘I wasstressed’, I exercised’, ‘I came intocontact with a pet’.200300400500600700800Feeling like you can’t keep up with yournormal day-to-day activitiesWaking at night with asthma symptomsHad asthma symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, tight chest, coughing or wheezingUsed reliever inhalerDay of the weekTWTWEEK 9FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMTWTWEEK 10FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMwww.asthma.org.uk/advice/resourcesFeel free to photocopy empty pages to add them to your diary or download more from our resources section at

Warning 460480520540560580620640660680720740760780Weekly comments: anythingunusual this week that might haveresulted in a lower score? eg. ‘I wasstressed’, I exercised’, ‘I came intocontact with a pet’.200300400500600700800Feeling like you can’t keep up with yournormal day-to-day activitiesWaking at night with asthma symptomsHad asthma symptoms such as shortness ofbreath, tight chest, coughing or wheezingUsed reliever inhalerDay of the weekTWTWEEK 11FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMTWTWEEK 12FSSAM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PMMwww.asthma.org.uk/advice/resourcesFeel free to photocopy empty pages to add them to your di

You need to check your peak flow: every day, twice a day to get a useful pattern of scores at the same times of day, in the morning and in the evening before you take your asthma medicine otherwise it will change the score using your best effort each time you blow into the meter so you’re comparing like with like using the same peak flow meter each time.

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next course of action and to nip things in the bud, especially if you . For example, it’s normal for your score to be slightly lower in the morning. The most important thing is whether your score is normal for you. Keeping a diary over time gives you a pattern of peak flow scores that helps

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