Stress testing is a type of test that evaluates your heart’s functioning as you participate in physical activity. By exercising, you place stress on your cardiovascular system that can highlight issues with your heartbeat and blood flow.
If you’re unable to exercise for a stress test because of arthritis or another condition, your doctor may give you a medication that simulates the effects of exercise on your body by making your heart beat hard and fast.
Why do I need stress testing?
Your doctor may request that you take a stress test if you have symptoms of coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is a condition that occurs when too much plaque, a waxy substance, builds up in your arteries.
Plaque buildup makes it harder for your heart to blood to pump through your vessels. Stress testing can help:
- Identify arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
- Diagnose CHD
- Monitor the treatment of a heart condition
- Determine how much exercise your heart can handle
Your doctor may look for an irregular heartbeat, chest pain, or trouble breathing while deciding whether or not to give you a stress test. It isn’t the best option for everyone, but it can tell your doctor a lot about your heart’s functioning.
What should I expect for stress testing?
If you’re eligible to participate in stress testing with exercise, your doctor will attach sticky pads to your skin.
These pads are attached to wires on an electrocardiogram (EKG). The EKG machine shows your heart rate on a screen. You might also be asked to breathe into a tube during the test.
Once you’re securely hooked up to the monitor, your doctor asks you to begin walking slowly on a treadmill. The speed and incline are slowly increased.
If it becomes too difficult for you to keep up or if you start to experience symptoms, you may ask to stop. Otherwise, you’ll keep going until your doctor is satisfied with the results.
Stress testing is a useful tool for monitoring the heart. To find out if a stress test is necessary for you, call Valley View Wellness Medical Center or go online to book your appointment today.