Frequently Asked Questions
Millions of people in many countries put their trust in our products and send us their feedback. We are pleased to publish the most Frequently Asked Questions and our answers.
- What is asthma?
- What causes asthma?
- What are triggers of asthma symptoms?
- Is there a cure for asthma?
- What can I do if I have an attack?
- Will smoking make my asthma worse?
- Can I still exercise?
- Why is Peak Flow Monitoring important?
- How often do I have to measure?
- What is important in measuring Peak Flow?
- How do I have to perfom a measurement?
- Can I self-assessment my illness?
- How does an inhalation therapy work?
- Which parameters is PF 100 measuring and what do they mean?
- How does the traffic Light indication work?
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory lung disease characterized by difficulty in breathing. People with asthma have acute episodes when the airways get irritated and react with narrowing or obstructing. Breathing becomes difficult. Asthma symptoms can include
- shortness of breath
- chest tightness
These problems are caused by an oversensitivity of the lungs and airways which overact to certain triggers and become inflamed and clogged.
What causes asthma?
The basic cause of the lung abnormality in asthma is not yet known.
There are lots of conducive factors why someone can develop asthma, as for example some aspects of modern lifestyles, such as housing and diet, might be responsible. Smoking during pregnancy is known to increase the chance of your child developing asthma. There is currently no evidence that traffic pollution causes asthma, although poor air quality can make your asthma worse.
What are triggers of asthma symptoms?
Triggers irritate the airways and result in bronchoconstriction. Common triggers are cold air, cigarette smoke, allergies to pollen, furry or feathery animals, house-dust mites, extreme exercise or emotional upsets.
Everyone's asthma is different and you will probably have several triggers.
Is there a cure for asthma?
Unfortunately, there is no cure. However, asthma can be controlled with proper treatment. People with asthma can use medicine prescribed by their physician to prevent or relieve their symptoms. By educating themselves about medication and other asthma management strategies, most people can gain control of the disease and live an active life.
What can I do if I have an attack?
1. Take your reliever inhaler immediately
2. If the reliever has no effect after five to ten minutes, call your doctor.
3. Continue to take reliever medication every few minutes until help arrives.
Will smoking make my asthma worse?
Yes, smoking can make your asthma worse - the asthma symptoms will be worse and harder to control. It may also cause long-term damage to your lungs. Many people are affected by passive smoking. Smoking during pregnancy is known to increase the chance of your child developing asthma.
If you smoke, you will increase your chances of developing many other health problems.
Can I still exercise?
As long as your asthma is well-controlled, you should be able to modestly exercise. Any form of exercises that teach proper breathing techniques, e.g. Yoga, can be beneficial for people with asthma.
If you find that exercise makes your asthma worse, talk to your physician as this could be a sign that your medication needs to be reviewed.
Why is Peak Flow Monitoring important?
Only with a peak flow monitor can modern asthma control plans be followed. The monitor gives the patient better, earlier and more objective information, to find breathing problems before wheezing and coughing begins.
How often do I have to measure?
Physicians typically recommend taking one measurement in the morning and one in the evening on a daily basis. Measurements should also be taken when feeling poorly or experiencing shortness of breath. Always take measurements before inhaling any prescribed drugs.
What is important in measuring peak flow?
Your physician is only interested in the HIGHEST peak flow value achieved during a measurement session. Please repeat the measurements until you feel you have gotten the best possible result for that session. In the event of declining results at each successive measurement, talk to your doctor. It may be a sign of unstable asthma.
Coughing during a measurement can produce erroneously low results so always repeat the measurement. If you want to perform continuous measurements sequentially, be sure to have sufficient relaxation after each measurement to ensure accurate results.
Please note that low peak flows indicate a pending asthma attack even though no symptoms are felt!
How do I have to perform a measurement?
- Measurements can be performed while standing, or sitting upright.
- For better comparability of your data you should always perform the measurement in the same position.
- Hold the monitor with both hands.
- Inhale deeply and hold your breath for a moment.
- Cover the mouthpiece tightly with your lips.
- Exhale into the measuring tube as strongly and quickly as possible!
- Take the monitor away from your mouth and see your result in the display.
- It is recommended that three or more measurements be taken sequentially.
Can I self-assessment my illness?
The "traffic light scheme" allows a patient to self-assess measured values to follow the progression of the illness. Self-assessment empowers patients to control their asthmatic illness in close co-operation with their physician. The physician determines a green, a yellow and a red area for the patients peak flow readings. As long as the values are in the green area, the lung disease is well under control. If the readings are frequently in the yellow area, the medication dosage should be increased according to the physician's recommendation. Peak flow results in the red area are dangerous! The patient should act as recommended by the physician or seek emergency medical treatment.
How does an inhalation therapy work?
Respiratory diseases can be well managed with inhalation therapy as the dose reaches the bronchioles and the lung area. Compared with MDIs or dry powder inhalers, nebulisers allow the medication to be more efficiently deposited with less co-ordination problems. Consequently, the medication is uniformly deposited within the upper and lower respiratory tract where it has maximal effect. Further advantages are that the airways are moistened and the medicine can be very simply inhaled. Side effects of treatment are reduced when using inhalation devices as opposed to MDI and dry powder inhalers as less medication remains in the mouth, where it has no benefit. Inhalation devices are therefore particularly suitable for patients with chronic respiratory diseases, children and older patients.
Which parameters is PF 100 measuring and what do they mean?
Microlife PF100 device is used to measure "Peak Expiratory Flow" (PEF) and Forced Expiratory Volume in 1-second (FEV1) in both children and adults. PEF is the fastest speed air can be blown out of the lungs after inhalation. FEV1 measures the volume after exhaling in 1-second. Peak Flow (PEF) and Forced Expiratory Volume in 1-second (FEV1) measurements can tell how well lungs are breathing by monitoring airflow. Doctors can have patients monitor changes in airflow and record the results. The automatic memory stores and provides easy access to the last 240 readings along with the time and date.
How does the traffic Light indication work?
The "traffic light scheme" allows a patient to self-assess measured values to follow the progression of the illness. Self-assessment empowers patients to control their asthmatic illness in close co-operation with their physician. The physician determines a green, a yellow and a red area for the patient's peak flow readings and determines the patients own personal best value. This is the highest value the patient can achieve under optimum conditions (free of symptoms, feeling well). [Example: 500 l/min.] The green area usually reaches 80% of the personal best value. [Example: 500 l/min x 0.8=400 l/min] The yellow area usually reaches 60% of the personal best value. [Example: 500 l/min x 0.6=300 l/min].
As long as the values are in the green area, the lung disease is well under control. If the readings are frequently in the yellow area, the medication dosage should be increased according to the physician's recommendation. Peak flow results in the red area are dangerous! The patient should act as recommended by the physician or seek emergency medical treatment.
In short: Our PF100 Peak Flow meter is designed to be used to compare the user's test values of PEF and FEV1 in relation to their personal best values.
The first step is to have the patient tested for example in a spirometer, to get a complete monitoring of his/hers condition of the lungs. Then the best values can be entered via Microlife Asthma Analyzer SW into the persons PF 100, thus enabling the use of the "traffic lights" and showing the patient easily and clearly visible at what condition hers/his lungs are.