It has been estimated that nearly 23 million people are affected by asthma each year. Patient care is proving to be increasingly difficult for hospitals and clinics, but with technological advancements there are significant developments in certain areas of asthma symptom management. Using tools such as the ones given below help patients and their care givers to manage the disease more effectively, avoid risky attacks and live a more engaged lifestyle.
Peak Flow Meter
A Peak Flow MeterThe peak flow meter measures the levels in which your lungs are working. It is used by patients to track asthma and keep the disease under control. The tool is portable and extremely easy to use and is used by adults and children alike. It keeps symptoms under check and warns when the levels are going beyond a certain extent. Patients can adjust their medicine intake or take other precautionary measures based upon the readings.
The peak flow meter works by evaluating variations in the breath known as peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR). It can certify the effect of the current treatment and alert during times of emergency. The peak flow meter diagnoses signs of a flare-up before they show up and warns the patient to immediately undertake the necessary steps, which includes calling in the doctor.
The patient is supposed to blow forcefully into the peak flow meter after taking in deep breaths. Normally, it is done three times and the highest is recorded as the peak expiratory flow.
A Pulse OximeterUsed primarily in pulmonary and intensive care units, a pulse oximeter is a photoelectric device placed on the body to check pulsations. They are non-invasive and usually placed on the finger, forehead or ear lobes to measure the blood oxygen levels. Two diodes – red and infrared are placed on either side. While oxygenated blood absorbs the red light, deoxygenated blood absorbs the infrared and the measurements are taken every 0.5 – 1 second with an average reading of the last 3 seconds recorded.
Occurring at approximately 80 percent saturation levels, hypoxaemia can be quickly detected using individual pulse oximetry. The pulse oximeter can be used to gauge the seriousness of an asthma attack. Life-threatening situations where the oxygen saturation levels are less than 92 percent than that in the air can be detected and averted.
Management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), calculating oxygen requirements for pneumonia patients and managing bronchiolitis in infants are other primary uses of the pulse oximeter. The tool can be commonly found in a general physician’s medical kit.
A SpirometerA spirometer is used to check the functioning of lungs. It is one of the simplest instruments that can help in determining the amount of air that is received, held and utilized by the lungs. It can be used to screen diseases that affect lungs, its severity, and also monitor treatments. The spirometer can check the level of optimum air intake and identify whether there is irregularity in the airflow.
It works by blowing air forcefully and completely into the device, from which measurements are then recorded. It is compared with similar measurements and treatment is recommended if the readings are found to be abnormal. Usually, more tests are recommended after the initial spirometer check-up to ascertain the severity of the asthma problem.