The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed heart disease as the No. 1 killer of Americans, which explains why many people are wondering what steps they can take to avoid being the next victim. One way to determine healthy heart function is to undergo a stress test.
Though the name implies a less-than-fun experience, a stress test is nothing to stress about.
A stress test, also known as an exercise test or treadmill test, helps doctors evaluate how well your heart works. As oxygen levels decrease during exercise, the heart is forced to pump more blood and doctors can monitor if there is sufficient blood flow through the arteries.
Physicians, such as those at Cardiac Care Group, administer the test by placing electrodes on your chest, arms and legs. These electrodes are then connected to a monitor to record your heart activity during moderate exercise for 15-30 minutes. Exercise intensity gradually increases every three minutes to monitor your heart’s ability to cope with added stress.
The American Heart Association recommends these tests to determine a safe level of exercise for an individual, to see if a person suffers from any form of coronary disease or to evaluate the effectiveness of previous heart procedures.
If you are wondering if a stress test may be right for you, here are four reasons to consider asking your physician about it.
We all get tired, but when is it a serious problem? Before parents of newborn children start thinking they need a stress test, let’s clarify what level of fatigue qualifies for medical attention.
Fatigue that’s unusual or unexplained may be an indication of heart trouble.
Shortness of breath
Being out of breath after rigorous exercise is no reason to hyperventilate. However, if you find yourself gasping for air while walking to your mailbox, you may want to get that checked out.
Often seen as a companion to fatigue, shortness of breath can indicate underlying heart problems, as it may be the first sign that your heart isn’t sufficiently pumping blood through your system.
In fact, a study by Science Daily found that shortness of breath was a more serious indicator of fatal heart attacks than other more typical symptoms of heart disease.
A classic symptom of heart trouble, chest pain should never be taken lightly, but there are specific accompanying symptoms that may prove hazardous.
According to an article by Harvard Health, you should call a doctor immediately “if you are worried about pain or discomfort in your chest, upper back, left arm, or jaw; or suddenly faint or develop a cold sweat, nausea, or vomiting.”
History of heart disease
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you or your family members have had a history of heart disease, it may be wise to monitor your heart closely.
The American Heart Association urges you to be particularly aware if a grandparent, parent or sibling has ever experienced a heart attack or heart disease, as this greatly increases your risk for heart problems.
If you experience fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or may be at risk for heart disease, contact Cardiac Care Group today.