Heart conditions can have serious consequences for your health. Some heart conditions can be easily diagnosed through basic echocardiograms. However, some heart problems only become apparent during strenuous physical activity. Doctors can monitor the way your heart behaves during exercise by performing a stress test, which is also known as a stress echocardiogram. During this type of test, you will be given an echocardiogram while you walk and run on a treadmill. Here are four things you may want to know if your doctor has recommended a stress test for you:
1. It's best to avoid eating or drinking directly before your stress test.
Whether you should eat or drink before a medical procedure depends on the exact treatment that you plan to undergo. Patients who have stress tests scheduled should avoid drinking and eating before their appointments. Having a full stomach may lead to vomiting or stomachaches during your stress test. Additionally, you should avoid caffeine and other stimulants before your stress test since these substances may interfere with the results.
2. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
During your stress test, you will be expected to walk and run on a treadmill. During the exercise, your heart rate will increase, which can give doctors important information about your heart health and function. You can expect to work up a sweat during your stress test, so you'll want to wear clothes that you don't mind exercising in. You can have a productive test and stay as comfortable as possible by wearing loose-fitting clothing that allows you to move freely. However, you should avoid wearing dresses or skirts to your stress test since these garments are not ideal for physical activity.
3. Stress tests typically take 30 to 60 minutes.
Finding out how long a medical procedure will take can allow you to plan your day accordingly. Your stress test may last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. During this time, sensors will be attached to your chest to accurately measure the motion of your heart. These sensors may be moved several times during your appointment in order to collect different readings.
4. Drugs can be administered to people who cannot exercise.
Stress tests are typically performed with the cooperation of patients. However, some patients are unable to exercise due to preexisting health conditions or physical limitations. If you're unable to run on a treadmill, you can still undergo a stress test. In this situation, a doctor will inject medication into your bloodstream, which will make your heart race. Your heart rate will then be recorded using an echocardiogram.
For more information on stress testing, contact a cardiologist in your area.