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What is a Stress Test & Why Do You Need to Get One?

Common signs its time to consider getting a stress test - Brookhaven Heart, Patchogue, New Hyde Park or Hicksville, New York

By Lisa F. Young at Shutterstock

While our bodies are equipped to handle stressors (both mental and physical) that negatively affect our heart, prolonged occurrences can lead to numerous health issues, including increased blood pressure or other underlying heart conditions.

If you have or are currently experiencing irregularities or concerns with your heart, then your cardiologist might suggest a stress test to diagnose certain medical conditions. With this diagnosis, they can then suggest preventative health measures that you can implement on a daily basis.

What Happens During a Stress Test?

A routine stress test is typically conducted to monitor and measure your heart’s activity. During a stress test, your cardiologist will hook you up to an ECG machine as you complete a moderate level of exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill. You will start by slowly pedaling the bike or walking on the treadmill to raise your heart rate to a predetermined number.

If necessary, your doctor might have you pedal faster or run on the treadmill to further increase your heart rate. Throughout the stress test, your doctor will continue to monitor your blood pressure.

Prior to your stress test, you will need to complete a few key steps.

  1. You will need to answer questions about your medical history, as well as the history of heart conditions and diseases within your family.
  2. You should not eat food within four hours of the stress test.
  3. You can drink water leading up to the exam.
  4. You should wear comfortable shoes and clothing to your stress test.
  5. You should have an accurate list of current medications with you.
  6. If you are diabetic, then you should ask your doctor about any changes that you need to make to your medication(s) before your stress test.

During the stress test, your doctor will monitor your heart rate; you should also be cognitive of any signs of bodily distress. You might experience shortness of breath, chest pains, cramps, or other symptoms that could be indicators for a heart condition. Be sure to mention these symptoms to your doctor.

Remember, the goal of your stress test is to help improve your health, not to try to keep anything from your doctor or cardiologist. With this in mind, your doctor might determine that you should have a nuclear, cardiac, or lexiscan stress test in addition to the routine test.

Start Your Journey Toward a Healthier Heart with a Stress Test Procedure

Stress tests are a simple yet extremely effective way for cardiologists and doctors to assess your health. This procedure can help your doctor accurately identify an existing heart condition, which can be instrumental to prescribing the appropriate medications and treatment methods.

To learn more about regular, nuclear, cardiac, or lexiscan stress tests, contact a member of the Brookhaven Heart team at one of our three Long Island locations(Patchogue, New Hyde Park or Hicksville) today. Take the first step toward a healthier heart by calling 631-654-3278 or scheduling your appointment online.