For medical practitioners, particularly those handling pulmonary patients, knowing the peak flow meter normal range is very useful. The peak flow meter is a hand-held device that they ask the patient to breathe into. It helps them evaluate the condition of a patient, particularly his or her ability to breathe out air from his lungs. It also helps them determine if there is any obstruction in a patient’s air ways. This measurement is also called the peak expiratory flow rate.
The best of three successive readings are recorded and plotted in a graph. This is done for a particular period of time – for example, the period of an asthma patient’s confinement in a hospital. When the readings are evaluated together, they can give the doctors an idea of whether the patient’s ability to breathe out is improving or not.
Normal values of the peak flow meter depend on various factors including:
- · Gender
- · Height
- · Age
These factors are all taken into account in determining whether the readings fall under the peak flow meter normal range. For example, under the EU scale, for a man who is 60 years old and whose height is 160 cm, the normal PEF is 540. However, for a woman of the same age and height, the normal value PEF is between 380 and 400.
The following are the parameters set by the American Lung Association, in the use of a peak flow meter and evaluating the results:
When 80-100% of the readings are normal, the patient is said to be in the green zone. This means simply that the patient’s asthma is under control. This is the least problematic of all the “zones”.
When 50-79% of the readings are normal, the patient is said to be in the yellow zone. This is a cautionary zone. It may mean that the patient requires additional medication or his or her airways are becoming narrower.
When less than 50% of the readings are normal, this indicates a red zone, and may signal a medical emergency. The patient may be suffering from severely narrowed airways. The physician will most likely have the patient confined in a hospital.
Here are some reminders that will help you avoid asthma attacks:
First, identify the triggers that cause you to have asthma attacks and then avoid or limit your exposure to them. Triggers include irritants and allergens such as the following:
- Tobacco smoke
- Fumes from gas, kerosene and wood-burning stoves
- House cleaning products
- Dust mites
- Indoor mold
Second, there are activities that also irritate your airways such as exercising in cold weather. Avoid also foods that may trigger an attack such as processed potato and shrimp, as well as nuts, dried fruit, beer and wine. Other people may also get asthma symptoms from medicines such as Ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If this is true for you, ask your physician for alternatives.
With the proper research and care, and by seeking medical help when needed, you will better be able to manage your asthma and your readings will soon fall within the peak flow meter normal range.
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