Your heart doctor may order a stress test to help him determine if you have heart disease. The goal of a stress test is to measure how much stress your heart can manage before it develops a problem, such as an abnormal rhythm or decreased blood flow to the muscles of your heart.
Unless otherwise instructed, you should not eat, smoke, or drink beverages containing caffeine for at least three hours before your stress test. Your heart doctor will tell you whether you should take your heart medicine as usual that day. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing. You can expect a stress test to last about 60 minutes.
There are a few different types of stress test but a heart doctor is most likely to request an exercise stress test, which measures how well your heart responds to physical exertion. This test usually requires that you walk on a treadmill or pedal a bicycle at increasing levels of difficulty. The heart doctor or trained technician administering the test will measure your blood pressure, pulse, and activity of your heart every few minutes as you exercise.
During the test, you may feel some chest discomfort, dizziness, palpitations, and shortness of breath. You should report these to the technician administering the test.
What You Need to Know When Your Heart Doctor Orders a Stress Test
A stress test can tell a heart doctor many things about your current cardiovascular health. She can determine if there is adequate blood flow to your heart as you exercise, for example, or identify abnormal heart rhythms. This information is especially helpful if you already have heart disease or have suffered cardiac arrest, a condition where the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly.
Using the result of your stress test, your heart doctor can also evaluate the effectiveness of the heart medicines you take, or check the outcome of a cardiac surgical procedure. The information gained from a stress test can also help your heart doctor assess your risk for heart disease or cardiac arrest. He can also use the data to help you develop a safe exercise program that reduces your risk for cardiac disease.
Choose a cardiology practice that specializes in heart disease and treatments of heart conditions. Cardiac specialists are experienced and skilled in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of coronary artery disease, heart valve abnormalities, heart arrhythmias, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.
You can rely on your heart doctor to order, administer, and interpret the results of a stress test to keep your heart in tiptop shape. Make an appointment with your nearby Arizona cardiovascular treatment center today for your next stress test.