Find out why this test is performed and what it can tell you about your heart health.
Has our Grand Rapids, MI, cardiologist Dr. Ronald VanderLaan recently told you that you or a family member should get a stress test? If so, you may be wondering what a stress test is and why it’s important to have one performed. Many people throughout the course of their lives may have to undergo this simple exercise test.
What is a stress test and what happens during it?
During a stress test, you’ll be hooked up to a heart monitor. You’ll walk on a treadmill at a slow, steady pace. Over time, your Grand Rapids, MI, heart doctor will increase the speed and the incline. As you pick up speed your doctor will look for any changes in your heart rate, respiration and blood pressure that could signal a problem. This test also allows us to check blood supply as it goes through the arteries and the heart.
Who may need to undergo a stress test?
Your cardiologist may recommend a stress test if,
- You are experiencing certain symptoms such as chest pain or trouble breathing
- You have an irregular heartbeat
- You want to know the appropriate amount and kind of physical activity that is right for you before beginning a new exercise routine
- You are taking new medication for your heart disease and your doctor wants to make sure the medication is working
How do you prepare for a stress test?
Your cardiologist will talk to you about what you should and shouldn’t do prior to your stress test. Please let us know about any medications you are taking, including supplements, as you may not be allowed to take some of these medications before your test. In some cases, your doctor may tell you to abstain from eating or drinking for a few hours before the test.
For your test, you will want to wear the same kind of clothing that you would wear for a run or to the gym. This means comfortable, loose-fitted clothing and good walking shoes that provide your feet with ample support. If you feel the need to stop the test at any time don’t hesitate to tell your doctor.
What will my cardiologist be monitoring during my stress test?
You will be hooked up to a heart monitor that will measure,
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Respiration rate
- Your heart waves (through an electrocardiogram)
- How tired you feel
The stress test itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes but expect your appointment to last anywhere from 40 minutes to one hour.
Do you want to start a new workout routine? Are you experiencing chest discomfort or changes in heart rhythm in Grand Rapids, MI? If so, it’s important that you turn to a cardiologist right away for answers. Call Grand Rapids Cardiology today.