To find out just how well your heart is performing, you will need to see how it handles stress or extra exertion. A stress test has been designed by medical experts to do just that–and here is what you can expect during this routine procedure.
A stress test is a low-risk test that typically involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle in order to raise your heart rate. Some heart problems are easier to detect when your heart is working harder than it does when it’s at rest.
Heart specialists evaluate the health of your heart by using the results to diagnose heart problems including:
- Abnormal heart rate or rhythm
- Heart valve disease and coronary heart disease
- Potential for a future heart attack
The results of a stress test are used to determine a course of treatment specific to the patient’s cardiac needs.
There are two main types of stress tests:
- The standard exercise stress test involves an electrocardiogram, or EKG, to capture information about how your heart functions.
- The imaging stress test involves capturing images of your heart for analysis.
What to Expect from a Stress Test
Prior to a stress test, you may be advised to fast and/or eliminate caffeine from your diet. As part of your test, you’ll be required to wear several electrodes which will be connected to the EKG machine, your blood pressure will be checked and gasses will be measured by way of you breathing into a tube. An imaging stress test also uses sound waves or radioactive dye to capture images of your heart, both while your heart is at rest and after you’re exercised. The actual exercise component of a stress test generally lasts about 15 minutes, and any pain or discomfort is monitored.
To learn more about heart health and stress tests, visit The Medical Center of Plano HeartLink™ online or call (972) 519-1307. For a physician referral, please call us at 1-855-665-TMCP.