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Monday, March 10, 2014
Managing and Imrpoving Asthma
I have had severe chronic asthma for fifty years (since I was three).
My peak flow meter readings are unimpressive 350-400 at 5’5”. When I have acute bronchitis it falls to 200.
I want to improve my lung capacity. What steps can I take?
Besides having dry skin from Asthma, and a potentially weakened heart from the labors of my lungs - what else should I be on the look out for?
Your description of peak flow readings is typical for many asthmatics: not that bad when feeling well but drop when having an asthma flare. The goal of asthma therapy is to reduce the episodes of asthma flares as much as possible. Each asthma patient's disease is different so you need to work with your asthma care provider to get on the best treatment plan for you. Issues that will help manage your asthma include: knowing what your lung function measure are (spirometry values, not just peak flow), making sure you are on appropriate asthma controller medications, determining what specific triggers you have and how to reduce exposure to them, and most importantly making sure you have an asthma action plan.
I would suggest reviewing the patient education materials on NetWellness and discuss your asthma management plan with your asthma care provider.
John G Mastronarde, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University