Asthma Library

What’s Asthma?

Who Gets Asthma?

Prevention and Care

Recommended Links

Asthma Index

We are a safe place to discuss your personal health issues.

Sign up for free!



Sign up for free email!

Using an Asthma Inhaler
Using an Asthma Inhaler

(More Video)

Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage."
~William Ellery Channing

Help me learn about:

We welcome all suggestions. Please tell us how to make savvyHEALTH even better.


Lesson 4: Daily Care for Your Asthma

Your personal best!

What is your personal best? Don't worry, we're not talking about how quickly you can run a 50-yard dash. In asthma terms, your personal best refers to the highest measurement you can get in the middle of the day, during a reduced-symptom period, after using your inhaled bronchodilator over 2 to 3 weeks. By comparing your daily peak flow readings with your personal best reading you are more able to gauge the severity of your asthma symptoms.

So, why do some people have a naturally higher peak flow reading? The "normal" range for your peak flow depends on your height, age and gender. So, a 35-year-old 5'3" woman who gets a reading of 350 is within normal predicted range for her age, gender, and height, however that it reading for a 6'3" 25-year-old man is out of the predicted range of normal lung function. For kids, peak flow goals should not decrease over time, but should be moved up on a yearly because they are growing!

If you want a more precise measurement of your personal best, your allergist can help you by giving you a treatment to normalize your lung function, and then measuring your lung function using a highly sensitive in-office measurement machine called a spirometer. You can compare the results of the spirometer with your your own peak flow meter to take note of discrepancies or to set your lung function goals.

Air traffic!

Once you know your personal best peak flow reading, make it your goal to maintain values within 80% of this number. The following "traffic light" system is a good reference:

Green zone – Go! You're safe! Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) means you are within 80-100% of your personal best! You should be relatively symptom-free and can maintain your asthma management program well. If you are on continuous medication and your peak flow is constantly in the green zone, your doctor may gradually decrease your daily medication.

Yellow zone – Caution! PEFR 50-80% of personal best. Your lung function is decreasing. You doctor will likely recommend a temporary increase in medication to return your lung function to a safer range.

Red zone – Danger! PEFR below 50% of personal best. Your asthma management and treatment program isn't working well. Use your inhaled bronchodilator as soon as possible. After the treatment, if your peak flow readings do not return to at least the yellow zone, contact your doctor immediately. You will likely be brought in for more intensive treatment and your maintenance therapy will likely be increased.

The traffic light system is a set of broad guidelines meant to simplify your asthma management. If you ever have questions about your peak flow reading, or if you don't feel well regardless of your peak flow reading, never hesitate to call your doctor.

Page 1 2 3 4

Copyright © 2000-2022 All rights reserved.

About savvyHEALTH | Privacy | Feedback | Home

All contents copyright © 1999-2022 savvyHEALTH, Inc. All rights reserved.

This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Please review the Terms of Use before using this site. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by the Terms of Use.