Manage your Asthma with an iPhoneYou probably know the value of using a peak flow meter to help monitor your asthma. The peak flow meter is a key part of general asthma guidelines and measures how hard you can breathe out and provides useful feedback on whether your asthma medications are working for you or whether you need to do anything different with your asthma treatment. To get the most out of a peak flow meter, you really need to store the data to get a pattern of what's happening over a period of weeks and months. That's useful material to take to your regular asthma management checkup. To log the readings you can use a simple diary format, or perhaps a spreadsheet - which can sometimes seem like a bit of a chore.

You can, however, also manage and monitor your asthma with an iPhone and you might already have come across the free AsthmaMD app. Dr Sam Pejham, a doctor and researcher based in California, devised AsthmaMD to help people keep track of their asthma symptoms - through entering their meds, triggers, and other data, including peak flow readings on a regular basis. When you manage your asthma with an iPhone, you have an instant snapshot of your peak flow pattern and the current state of your asthma which you can link back to any triggers or activities.

When you manage your asthma with an iPhone can email the data to your doctor or asthma nurse and you can also use it to help others. Users can opt-in to share this data anonymously with the AsthmaMD service where it is put together and sent to researchers. Dr Pejham and his colleagues say that, for instance, they could pinpoint a patient's location when they have an asthma attack and find out if pollutants or weather conditions at the time were responsible. They could also use the meds data to find out more about how effective they are in different age groups and how different asthma triggers affect people. We'll probably see updates and more apps to help with allergies and other health conditions. They're part of a growing trend in using technology to drive personal health care and put the patient more in charge when it comes to managing a chronic condition like asthma.

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