The best way to prevent a heart attack or detect a heart ailment is by undergoing a heart rate stress test. The AHA advises people to stay cautious and begin prevention by the age of 20.
What It Tells You
The heart rate stress test detects coronary artery diseases. It is also used to find out causes of chest pain and related symptoms. This test, also called a cardiac stress test, is measured with the help of an electrocardiogram (ECG). Electrodes are placed on the patient's body and they measure the functioning of the heart. The patient is made to exercise, usually on a treadmill, and the heart's activity is noted. Slowly, the intensity of the exercise is increased and any changes or irregularity is taken note of. When the target heart rate is reached or the patient cannot take anymore physical activity, the procedure is stopped. Blood pressure and heart rate readings are also noted.
The heart rate stress test is highly important if you feel you are having trouble breathing or experience heaviness in the chest. Sometimes, the symptoms might be minute, but the underlying problem huge. This test can detect if your heart is not pumping right or it there is a blockage in an artery.
However, remember that this test is strenuous and some precautions are necessary.
- If you experience chest pain or feel dizzy during the procedure, alert the medical staff present.
- People who have taken Viagra in the last 24 hours should tell the doctor about it, as doctors tend to give nitroglycerin to relieve chest pain and a combination of the two can make the blood pressure dip really low.
- Avoid having a test done right after a deadly sickness. Wait until the infection has gone and the fatigue reduced.
- Avoid drinking, smoking or anything with caffeine for 3 hours prior to the test. In fact, its best to avoid eating anything, as that reduces the chances of nausea.
- Wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes.
- People who are on heavy medication should tell the doctor this in advance.
Most people these days are so busy that they fail to pay heed to the heart's warning signals. Don't let that happen to you; stay healthy and live long!