All You Need To Know About An Exercise Stress Test

Exercise Stress Test is used to analyze the effect of exercise on your heart. An exercise stress test, also known as a treadmill test or exercise test, helps a doctor to understand how well your heart is equipped to handle hard work. The test is done while you exercise, usually on a treadmill. The doctor, monitoring your heartbeat, will decide the strength and functioning of your heart muscles. Here is everything you need to know about a stress test.

Why Do You Need A Test?

The basic need for this test is to understand your heart health. As you exercise during the test, your body is in need of more oxygen. As a result, your heart pumps blood accordingly. Thus, the test checks whether your heart receives enough oxygen or not. It is also used to determine the blood flow in your heart when you exercise. But, your doctor may not recommend a stress test often. Certain circumstances force the doctor to make

you undergo a stress test.

If you complain of a chest pain, you may need a stress test to check for coronary heart disease. In the case of heart attack, or a heart bypass surgery or an angioplasty, the doctor may suggest this test. And when you start a new exercise program, a stress test can show your heart’s capacity to handle the new program. This will help you embrace the new exercise routine with confidence.

How Is It Done?

Whenever you think of a heart test, you are reminded of images of several sticky pads attached to a patient’s skin, right? Well, things are no different here.

You will be hooked up to an equipment to monitor the heart. Flat, sticky patches called electrodes will be placed on your chest. These are connected to an ECG monitor that shows your heart activity during the exercise. And you will be asked to walk slowly in place on a treadmill. Sometimes, instead of a treadmill, you will

be asked to pedal on an exercise bicycle. Gradually, the speed is increased at a faster pace and the treadmill is tilted to produce the effect of going up a small hill.

No need to panic. You can stop the test at any time if needed. Moreover, you will be under the supervision of a medical professional. He/she will be able to identify if something unusual happens during the test. Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) are monitored during the test. After exercising also, you will be monitored for 10 to 15 minutes until your heart rate returns to baseline.

How To Prepare For The Test?

Sharing your medical history with your doctor is the first step. You should inform your doctor if there were any episodes of chest pain or if you have any other medical condition that prevents you from exercising. Don’t forget to tell the doctor about your regular medicines. Some of them may interfere with

the test. Your doctor will be able to take the call regarding medication.

Wear loose clothing as you go for the test. Also, choose comfortable shoes as they cushion your foot while you exercise. Doctors may also ask you not to smoke or drink beverages containing caffeine or alcohol for 3 hours before the test. Certain pain relievers that contain caffeine are also not allowed.

Risks Involved

A stress test is considered safe. If you are a healthy person, there is no risk involved. However, some people may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or palpitation. Since you are constantly monitored by a medical expert, this will be taken care of. A heart attack is very rare during the test.