When you have a heart problem or when your doctor suspects one, you might need to take a stress test. This type of test can provide your doctor with important information on the way your heart functions. Find out more about stress tests, including what kinds of benefits they offer.
What Is a Stress Test?
A stress test or exercise stress test gives doctors a way to check the way your heart functions while you are physically active. This kind of test can show whether or not there are any problems with the way blood flows in your heart, which could indicate heart disease or other heart problems.
When Should You Consider One?
Your doctor might recommend undergoing a stress test if you have heart problems or if you have symptoms that could indicate a heart condition or disorder. This type of test is done to diagnose coronary artery disease and problems with heart rhythm, known as arrhythmias. When you already have a heart problem, your doctor might recommend a stress test to determine whether or not your treatment is effective. Doctors also use stress tests for patients who need to undergo cardiac surgery, such as a valve replacement or a heart transplant.
What Happens During a Stress Test?
During a stress test, you might be asked to walk on a treadmill or use a stationary bike for a certain amount of time. While you’re doing this physical activity, your doctor will watch your blood pressure and heart rhythm. Your breathing will also be monitored. In some cases, stress tests are done using a drug that produces similar effects on your heart as exercise does. This type of test might be used if you are unable to physically do exercise.
If you’re doing an exercise stress test, you’ll have electrodes placed on your arms, chest and legs. These connect to a machine that keeps track of the electrical signals in your heart. You can also expect to have a cuff placed on your arm in order to allow your doctor to monitor your blood pressure while you exercise. At some points during your test, you might breathe into a breathing tube. Keep in mind that you’ll be asked to do light to moderate physical activity at first, and you’ll be asked to do heavier activity as the test continues.
How Should You Prepare for a Stress Test?
Follow your doctor’s instructions on getting ready to take a stress test. This might involve avoiding taking certain medications or eating and drinking certain foods and beverages that could affect test results. You should go to your stress test wearing comfortable clothing and shoes.
What Are the Benefits of Taking a Stress Test?
Taking a stress test can help your doctor come up with an effective treatment plan if you are diagnosed with a heart problem. If you are undergoing treatment for heart disease or another heart condition, stress tests can help determine if it’s working or if you need a different treatment plan. If you are showing possible symptoms of heart problems, taking a stress test is an important part of getting an accurate diagnosis. In general, stress tests provide a safe way for your doctor to get crucial information about your heart. There are very few risks involved, although you might experience low blood pressure or changes in your heart rhythms during the test or right afterwards.
If you need additional information on stress tests, please contact Heart Vein NYC to set up an appointment.