3 Important Facts About Stress Tests
- Posted on: Feb 15 2023
One vital non-invasive diagnostic tool cardiologists and other medical professionals have used for decades to help detect heart conditions is the stress test. A stress test can display how your heart functions during exercise, providing the physician with the information they need to offer the right treatment options for patients.
If you need to have a stress test, read on to learn more about what they are, how they work, and how to prepare for one.
1. There Are Three Types of Stress Tests
A stress test helps determine how well your cardiovascular system functions while exercising and resting. Exercise makes your heart pump faster and harder, so the stress test will reveal if you have blood flow issues and other cardiovascular conditions.
A doctor may recommend this test if you have arrhythmia or coronary artery disease symptoms.
There are three main types of stress tests:
- Exercise stress test
- Non-exercise stress test
- Nuclear stress test
An exercise stress test involves walking on a treadmill while electrodes placed on your chest monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.
As the test progresses, the treadmill’s speed increases, and it may go into an uphill position. You may have to breathe into a mouthpiece to measure your air levels near the end of the test. The test will last between ten and 15 minutes.
A non-exercise stress test is for people who cannot exercise because of medical conditions or disabilities. The doctor uses medications to create the same stress exercise places on the body. They will inject them via an IV to stimulate your heart.
A nuclear stress test can give more detailed information on how your heart works. It is similar to an exercise stress test, but it includes a tracer dye that highlights blood flow around the heart. The dye makes it easy to see the areas where the blood is not flowing.
2. Stress Tests Detect Many Conditions
Stress tests can help detect a variety of heart conditions and can also identify risks for someone about to participate in an activity that puts stress on their heart.
Your doctor may recommend a stress test to determine whether you suffer from coronary artery disease. This disease occurs when the arteries become damaged — usually because of plaque and cholesterol buildup — and the blood flow issues it causes are easy to see during a stress test.
If your heart rate and pulse increase significantly during the test, it might mean your heart is working overtime because of restricted blood flow.
The stress test can also diagnose issues with your heart’s rhythm, called arrhythmias. This condition can cause your heart to beat too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly, and the stress test will be able to register that.
If you have a heart condition, a stress test can help your doctor choose the right treatment options. The test can also show if your current treatments are working.
If you have to undergo heart surgery, you may also have to have a stress test to see if your heart can withstand the stress of surgery.
3. You Have to Prepare for the Test
To prepare for a stress test, you have to stop smoking at least 24 hours before the appointment. You also need to avoid anything with caffeine, including energy bars and some chocolates, for at least a day.
Four hours before the test, you have to stop eating and can drink only water. Ask your doctor if you can continue the medications you are on or if you have to stop them before the test.
Turn to Experts for Quality Diagnostics
When you depend on cardiologists like the team at Cardiovascular Wellness in Hicksville and Lake Success, New York, you can be confident we will perform the tests needed to accurately diagnose any heart conditions you may have. Contact us today.
Posted in: Heart Health, Stress Tests