Do I Need A Stress Test?
Posted by: Tampa Cardio
On: November 14, 2019
We often have patients come in and say “I think I need a stress test”.
We then ask why it is they feel they may need to have the test done. Often we find that patients have no symptoms that would indicate the need for a stress test. No chest pain or shortness of breath and haven’t noticed any significant changes while exerting themselves.
The main reason given is that they have been reading stories online and are concerned about heart disease. Followed up by a family member who had a heart attack early on in life and they are concerned about genetics.
Though a stress test isn’t likely called for unless you do exhibit chest pain or shortness of breath, some patients still opt to err with caution on the safe side.
What is Entailed in Undergoing a Stress Test?
A physical stress test is done by having the patient walk on a treadmill. During this test, the speed and incline will increase until either they are unable to continue due to fatigue or the test is stopped due to signs such as elevated blood pressure or heart rhythm issues. The patient’s electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure, and symptoms are continuously monitored before, during, and after the test.
What a Stress Test Reveals
Simply put, a stress test shows us how well your blood is flowing to the heart. If a patient can only go a few minutes on a stress test and chest pain starts or the ECG shows evidence of ischemia it could mean that there’s an obstruction. This puts them in a high-risk group for a potential cardiac event.
When to do a stress test and when to avoid
While it used to be the norm to do one yearly, routine stress testing has not been shown to lower the rate of heart attack or heart-related death. Because of this, they are only done as needed now when patients present with symptoms.
Depending on the symptoms and the patient’s risk factors, a treadmill test may be the best way to get information to decide if they would benefit from more invasive procedures like heart catheterization. Another reason to do a stress test may include helping to asses a high-risk sedentary patient who is having surgery or to form an exercise program for a sedentary patient who wants to work on their health.
Stress tests are only a tool that can help indicate and diagnose. They are not infallible. Never attempt to do your own version of a stress test at the gym or at home. If you have not been exercising regularly and believe something may be at risk with your heart do not take chances. Stress tests need to be done under close medical supervision.
Think you may need a stress test? We perform them daily! We would love to sit down with you and go over your medical history and what you are currently experiencing and formulate the best course of action to evaluate your heart’s health.
Give our office a call at 813-975-2800 and schedule your appointment today. Visit us online at www.tampacardio.com to learn more!
Posted by: Tampa Cardio