Peak Flow Meter: FSA Eligibility
How is a peak flow monitor used?
An asthma oxygen flow monitor, also referred to as a peak flow meter, is a common tool in assessing asthma symptoms by measuring the amount of air that can be expelled from the lungs after a single deep breath. These devices come in two designs: the low-range variant that measures air flow for small children, and the standard range which measures lung capacity in adolescents, teenagers and adults. They typically consist of a plastic tube with a sliding marker or arrow that will measure the "fast blast," or a quick, forceful expulsion of air from the lungs (WebMD).
Asthma sufferers who are looking to better manage their symptoms often turn to asthma oxygen flow monitors to take daily readings of their lung capacity. These numbers are especially helpful in determining whether an adjustment in daily medication is needed, how the body responds to seasonal/environmental risk factors and how lung capacity is affected after heavy activity. Most importantly, oxygen flow monitors can allow asthma sufferers to track patterns in their symptoms. For example, if a marked decrease in lung function is common before an asthma attack, users can know what medications and additional steps to take when an asthma flare-up is forthcoming.
Additionally, individuals who suffer from chronic bronchitis or emphysema may also consider the usage of an asthma oxygen flow monitor to accurately assess the state of their lungs in relation to their specific illness. Because asthma oxygen flow monitors are used to treat or prevent the symptoms of legitimate medical conditions, they qualify for reimbursement with FSAs, HSAs and HRAs.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a medical condition that refers to a narrowing of the airways in the lungs that is caused by inflammation in the respiratory system. This chronic lung disease is associated with a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing and occasional wheezing from strenuous and everyday activity. Nearly 25 million people are diagnosed with asthma in the U.S., and while it can affect all ages, asthma typically develops during childhood and afflicts more than 7 million children. There is no known cure for asthma and the condition can worsen or improve over time, but its status can be managed effectively through the use of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) asthma medicines that can allow asthma sufferers to life active, healthy lives free from interruption from their symptoms (American Lung Association).