What You Should Know About Stress Testing

If your doctor asks you to do a stress test, you might be unsure what to expect. Stress testing Covington measures your heart’s functioning while you engage in physical activity. It is a useful tool for doctors to diagnose heart conditions, monitor your heart health, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Here is what you should know about stress testing.

Who needs stress testing?

Your doctor may recommend stress testing if you are at risk of heart disease or have symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or an irregular heartbeat. It is also recommended for people who have already been diagnosed with heart disease or have a family history of heart problems. Stress testing can help doctors diagnose heart conditions, and monitor the effectiveness of treatments.

Types of stress tests

Exercise stress: This test involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike while your heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG are monitored. The test starts with a low-intensity exercise and gradually increases in intensity. Your doctor will stop the test if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms or your heart rate reaches a certain level.

Nuclear stress test: This test helps identify which parts of the heart are not functioning well. Your doctor will inject a small amount of radioactive material into you. Then they will use a special camera to detect the material injected into your bloodstream. This test provides detailed information about blood flow to your heart and can detect blockages in your arteries.

Stress test without exercise: This test is used for people who cannot exercise. It involves injecting a medication that stimulates your heart to beat faster, similar to the effects of exercise. Your doctor will administer medication through an IV and then monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG.

How to prepare for a stress test

Before a stress test, you may need to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours. You should also avoid caffeine and tobacco products for at least a few hours before the test. Before the test, you may be asked to stop taking certain medications, such as beta-blockers. You should wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for exercise. You should also inform your doctor if you have any medical conditions or allergies.

What happens during stress testing?

Stress testing is typically performed on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. During the test, you will be connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, which records your heart’s electrical activity. Your physician will monitor blood pressure throughout the test. You will begin exercising at a low intensity, and then the speed and incline (on a treadmill) or resistance (on a stationary bike) will gradually be increased to make your heart work harder. You will be asked to exercise until you are tired or until your heart rate reaches a target level determined by your doctor. The test is usually stopped after 8-12 minutes or sooner if you experience chest pain, dizziness, or other symptoms.

Call Louisiana Heart and Vascular to book your appointment for stress testing.

William Thomas

William Thomas