When should you have a Stress Test?
Stress can take a toll on our bodies. In fact, many health reports encourage us to take time to relax to lower stress. But health experts say during a stress test they want to put stress on your body, particularly your heart.
Jennifer Moss, a cardiology advanced provider, says during a stress test patients walk on a treadmill as health experts monitor their heart. “A stress test is something we use to assess for coronary artery disease, so blockages in the arteries that would increase blood and oxygen flow to the heart.”
If a patient has a pervious history of heart problems, has diabetes, or has high cholesterol, they’re considered high risk for coronary artery disease. “Generally the reason we order a stress test is a patient is having symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath on exertion,” said Moss.
The most common stress test is on a treadmill. The faster you go, the more stress you put on your heart. Using an EKG and a blood pressure cuff, health experts monitor how the patient’s heart responds to that stress. “We want to know if when the heart is being stressed and worked out and that muscle is working, is the blood and oxygen still getting to the heart. We look at the EKG for any signs that says no that’s not the case,” said Moss.
For patients who are unable to use the treadmill, a chemical stress test is used. “We kind of do the same thing with medication to make the heart stressed then we take images to look at the heart,” said Moss.
If patients experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or are unable to complete the test, doctors may recommend further testing to examine the heart.
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