Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the US, so early detection and treatment are crucial. At CFP Physicians Group in Casselberry, Florida, the experienced family physicians offer stress tests, which determine how well your heart functions during exercise, to detect heart problems before serious complications arise. Call CFP Physicians Group to learn more about stress tests, or schedule an appointment online today.
A stress test, or an exercise test, is a type of heart test your doctor uses to determine how well your heart works during exercise. Stress tests can reveal problems with the way your blood flows through your arteries or heart rhythm abnormalities.
Your provider might recommend a stress test if you’re at risk of an irregular heartbeat, coronary artery disease, or another heart condition to make a diagnosis and establish the appropriate course of action.
Your doctor might ask you to avoid drinking, eating, and smoking the morning of your stress test. If you take medications, ask your doctor if you should take them the day of the test, and let your provider know if you use an inhaler. If you do, bring the inhaler with you to the test, and wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
Prior to stress tests, your doctor reviews your medical and physical activity history to determine which amount of exercise is most appropriate during the test. They examine your lungs and heart before the stress test to screen for abnormalities.
Your technician places electrodes, or sticky patches with wires attached to them, on your legs, arms, and chest. The electrodes connect to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine that records your heart’s activity.
During the stress test, you ride a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill while your doctor monitors your heart’s function. You’ll begin at a low intensity and progress to higher intensities of physical activity.
Your doctor might ask you to breathe into a special tube while you exercise. If you’re unable to be physically active for health reasons, they may give you IV medications that make your heart work harder to mimic the effects of exercise.
During a stress test, you exercise until your heart reaches a target rate or you develop the following signs and symptoms:
Stop the test when your doctor tells you to or you feel too uncomfortable to continue. Stress tests often take about 15 minutes, but with prep time and post-test monitoring, your appointment might last about an hour.
Your provider discusses the test results with you. If your stress test is abnormal, you may require additional testing to rule out or diagnose coronary artery disease, heart arrhythmias, or another heart condition.
To find out if a stress test is right for you, call CFP Physicians Group, or schedule an appointment online today.