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What Is A Peak Flow Meter And Who Needs One?

What Is A Peak Flow Meter And Who Needs One?
Laura Castricone, CRT

What is Peak Flow Meter?

A peak flow meter is a very inexpensive tool to help a person who suffers from asthma, COPD, or other lung disease(s) to monitor their lung function, specifically peak flows.

It is a simple, plastic gauge that requires the patient to blow into it as forcefully as they can and to record the findings.  Patients can do this daily or several times per day to see if the airflow from the lungs is stable or declining.  If patients find that their peak flows are reduced, they can contact their health care provider to see if it warrants an increase in oral medications, more breathing treatments, changes in medication, or if the patient may need to be seen for further evaluation.


Using a Peak Flow Meter

The main thing with a peak flow meter is that it is a “trending” tool.  It allows the patient to monitor their air flows to see if they need any changes in their regime or if they are declining and may need intervention.  Monitoring your peak flow may stave off shortness of breath or a hospitalization.  It can be used before and after breathing treatments as well to see how well the medication has increased airflows.

Understanding how to use the meter, reproducibility for exhaled breaths, and recording the findings is important so that you get the most benefit from this tool.  The meter will come with a guide to show the patient where their flows should be for their size. Peak flow meters come in low flow versions for children and high flow versions for adults.


Who needs a Peak-Flow Meter?

Consider adding a peak flow meter to your daily routine if you have asthma, emphysema, or another chronic lung disease.  It is another tool in your health toolbox to keep you informed on how your lungs are performing and a way to allow you to get medical intervention earlier. It’s simple and inexpensive and should be considered for anyone who uses a nebulizer.


Author Profile: Laura Castricone, Respiratory Therapist

Laura Castricone (Certified Respiratory Therapist)

My name is Laura Castricone and I am a Certified Respiratory Therapist. I have been practicing in the state of Connecticut since 1992. I have worked in several aspects of respiratory care including sleep medicine, critical care, rehab, and home care. I earned my respiratory certification at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. Prior to becoming an RT, I attended the University of Connecticut pursuing a degree in English but left Uconn in my junior year to work with my father in the restaurant business. I stayed with him for over a dozen years. An education, by the way, that can never be bought! Once I married and had children, the restaurant business no longer fit my lifestyle. When my children were one and two years old, I decided to go back to school and that is where my career in respiratory care began. This career has been very rewarding and I have been blessed to meet some extraordinary people along the way. I grew up in Waterbury, CT, and now live in Litchfield County, CT with my husband and our crazy Jack Russell terrier, Hendrix. My hobbies include antiquing, gardening, writing plays, and painting miniature paintings.



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HPFY Laura Castricone, CRT

Laura Castricone, CRT

LinkedIn Profile My name is Laura Castricone and I am a Certified Respiratory Therapist. I have been practicing in the state of Connecticut since 1992. I have worked in several aspects of respiratory ...

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