I'm investigating the effect of cardio exercise on asthma - how should I measure my asthma level?

Recently, I’ve anecdotally noticed that my asthma has returned (or has become more impactful) and I suspect that it’s due to my 6 month hiatus from cardio exercise.

To investigate, I’m planning to set up a self-experiment where the treatment condition is consistent cardio exercise. So far, the only accessible way I’ve found to measure my asthma is through a ‘peak flow meter’ which measures how fast air comes out of your lungs.

A few other methods:

  • The next most realistic method was using this digital peak flow meter, but I’m not sure how incrementally beneficial it is
  • Detailed spirometry appears to require visiting a doctor, which I can’t do every day
  • FeNO testers which look at lung inflammation but don’t appear to be available for personal use - the websites I’ve looked at all require a quote and a company name. I’ve asked for a quote but am still waiting to hear back

Do you have any recommendations or advice on this topic?

Outside of how to measure my asthma level, I was planning to do a simple A-B test with a relatively long treatment period (a couple of months maybe), because I suspect that cardio will have a delayed effect if anything. Would be happy to hear any advice on that too!

  • Have you in the past noticed any seasonal patterns in your asthma (allergies, cold/dry air, pollution)?
  • Is the asthma bad enough that you can see changes in blood oxygenation with a pulse oximeter?
  • Might also be worth keeping track how bad the asthma felt, subjectively.

Thanks Eric these are great questions!

  • Seasonal effects: no seasonal effects outside of a one-off recurrence during the bushfires in Australia, when there was a large amount of smoke in the air. If there are some less immediately noticeable seasonal effects, I could try to pick it up with longer term tracking

  • Pulse oximeter: great idea! Thanks for bringing this up. Not sure how precise the oximeter is, but probably worth a try. Do you have experience using it? If so, was it effective in the tracking or experiment that you used it for?

  • Subjective measure: this seems pretty reasonable, I guess some sort of well-defined scale (e.g. where 8 = need to stop prescribed exercise, 7 = need to slow down prescribed exercise etc.) would be quite insightful

  • Might be worth tracking air quality?
  • If you use an inhaler, Propeller has some interesting features.
  • Finger clip pulse oximeters should be reasonably accurate. The one on my wrist, not so much :frowning: