The stress test is sometimes called the treadmill test or exercise stress test. Through this test, doctors try to find out how well a person’s heart handles physical activities. Because the heart pumps more and faster during exercise, an exercise stress test can tell about problems related to blood flow inside the heart.
Doctors recommend a stress test when a person has symptoms of coronary artery disease or arrhythmia. The exercise stress test can be helpful in deciding the treatment of any disease related to the heart. Along with this, it tells whether the treatment of the heart is going well or not. It also helps to tell the severity of the current heart condition.
2. When is the Exercise Stress Test recommended?
The doctor may recommend a stress test for the following reasons:
3.Diagnose coronary artery disease
Coronary arteries are large blood vessels that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Coronary artery disease develops when these arteries become damaged or some disease occurs. The reason for this is the buildup of plaque containing cholesterol.
4. To diagnose arrhythmias
Arrhythmias cause your heart to beat too fast, too slowly, or irregularly.
5. Guide treatment of heart disorders
If a person has already been diagnosed with a heart condition, an exercise stress test can help a doctor determine whether current treatment is appropriate. The test result helps the doctor determine the right treatment for the patient.
6. To check your heart before surgery
The doctor can use the exercise stress test to find out when valve replacement or heart transplant surgery may be done. If the symptoms and cause are not known from the exercise stress test, the doctor may use a nuclear stress test or a nuclear stress test. Stress test can be done along with echocardiogram.
Read more: Non-stress Test (NST): What is Non Stress Test?
7.How is an exercise stress test done? (Exercise Stress Test Process)
The doctor explains how to prepare for a stress test. The doctor may forbid the patient to eat, drink or smoke anything before the test. Caffeine consumption may also be prohibited from the day before the test. The doctor should be asked if a person can use over the counter medicines before the test. Some medicines can interfere with the test. Asthma patients can bring their inhaler during the test. Do tell the doctor about this. It is advisable to wear comfortable clothes and shoes during the test.
This test takes 1 hour. In which the time of both preparation and test is included. The Actual Exercise Test takes 15 minutes. One has to walk on a treadmill and pedal on an exercise bike. If a person is not able to exercise, then he is given a medicine through IV.
8. Before a stress test
Before the Exercise Stress Test, the doctor will ask questions about the medical history and the intensity of the person’s exercise level. This will help determine how much exercise is appropriate to do during the stress test. The doctor will hear about heart and lung problems that can affect the test.
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9. What happens during a stress test?
A nurse or technician applies sticky patches, called electrodes, to the person’s chest, legs, and arms. The wires connect to computer sensors that record the electrical activity of the heart. The patient’s blood pressure is also checked during the test. The patient may also be asked to breathe into the tube during the test to see how he or she breathes during exercise.
Exercise has to be done slowly on a treadmill or exercise bike or bicycle. Exercise can become difficult after a while. The patient can use the handrail of the treadmill for balance, but it should not be held tightly. The patient then continues to exercise until the heart rate reaches the target level or the following symptoms appear, due to which you are unable to exercise.
- Chest pain
- Severe shortness of breath
- Abnormal high and low blood pressure
- Changes in Electrocardiogram
- Abnormal heart rhythm
He or she will be given a medicine through an IV that increases blood flow to your heart. Due to which he may feel short of breath, just like when exercising. There may also be a headache.
The patient and doctor will discuss safe limits for exercise. The person can stop the test at any time if he/she feels very uncomfortable. The doctor will watch the patient’s heart activity and will stop the test if there is any concern.
10. After the stress test
After stopping the exercise, you will be asked to stand for a few seconds. After that, you may be asked to lie down with the monitors for some time. The doctor can monitor the person for any problems as the heart rate and breathing return to normal. Once the exercise stress test is completed, a person can resume their normal activities.
11. Result of stress test
If the information collected during your exercise stress test shows that heart function is normal, you may not need any further tests. In any case, assuming the outcomes are ordinary and the indications keep on deteriorating, the specialist might suggest an atomic pressure test or another pressure test including an echocardiogram prior and then afterward practice or to search for expanded blood stream to your heart. Medications are incorporated.These tests are more accurate and provide more information about your heart’s function, but they are also more expensive.
If stress test results suggest that there may be coronary artery disease or arrhythmias may be visible, the doctor will use the information received to create a treatment plan. Additional tests such as a coronary angiogram may be needed. If a stress test was done to help determine treatment for a heart condition, the doctor will use the results to create or modify a treatment plan.
Read more: Recognise these Angina Signs in Heart Disease, so that timely prevention can be done!
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