There are now two Digital Asthma Monitors, also known as Digital Peak Flow Meters, available in Canada. One is the Microlife PF100, and the other is the Mini-Wright Digital Peak Flow Meter. These devices are...
- Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) is a measure of the maximum speed at which you can exhale air from your lungs, after inhaling a big breath.
- Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1) is the volume of air expelled within the first second, after inhaling a big breath.
Both measurements relate to how well the air is moving through your airways, which in turn, really means how open the airways are. If asthma is present with airway inflammation or bronchoconstriction, the peak flow and/or FEV1 levels will be lower as there is airway narrowing. These tests may be similar to ones you perform at your physicians' office.
The measurements are made and recorded once or twice daily and can be easily downloaded using special computer software. These results can be shared with your health care provider by sending the obtained measurements by e-mail or by bringing the results to your next appointment.
Using the Asthma Monitor for these measurements allows you to monitor your asthma on a day to day basis and will help determine the effectiveness of prescribed anti-inflammatory (controller) medications.
If monitoring shows a decrease in these values over time, this may show that your asthma is worsening, meaning a loss of asthma control.
On the other hand, an increase in measured values will indicate increased asthma control or response to controller medications.
It is important that you perform these measures with your healthcare provider before your self monitoring begins to ensure you are doing the measures correctly. For more information about the Asthma Monitor, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, Certified Asthma Educator or call the Asthma Society of Canada at 1-866-787-4050.
For more information on how to use the Asthma Monitor, please click here.