Stress tests are also called exercise stress tests as it examines how your heart handles physical exercise. You will be connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor your heart's electrical rhythms as you run a treadmill or work a stationary bicycle. By making your heart work steadily harder and faster, the stress test can unveil blood flow problems in your heart.
Doctors conduct stress tests if you have symptoms like chest pain, irregular heartbeat, or determine your health level. The stress test is necessary as it helps to:
Diagnose coronary artery disease
Evaluate the supply of blood to your heart
Determine your heart's health if you are at risk for any heart disease
Find a safe level of exercise
Stress tests are usually safe, and there is no need to worry as trained medical professionals will closely monitor you. However, even if the probability of risks is low, some complications that may occur are:
Abnormal heart rhythm
Stress tests may not be appropriate for everyone. Your physician will decide if the test is necessary for you based on your symptoms, medical history, age, sex, level of physical activity, and other risk factors.
Your physician will inform you on how to prepare for the stress test. It may include instructions like:
Avoid eating or drinking (especially caffeinated products) several hours prior to the test.
Avoid smoking or tobacco products
You may need to stop taking specific medications that may hinder the test if advised by your physician
Wear loose-fitting or comfortable clothes and walking shoes for the test
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