How To Prep for Your Stress Test

 How To Prep for Your Stress Test

Heart disease kills one person every 36 seconds and is the leading cause of death in the U.S. About 18.2 million adults have coronary artery disease, which is the most common type of heart disease. Taking care of your heart is incredibly important, and getting a stress test is a vital way to see how healthy your heart is. Once you’ve been scheduled for a stress test, you’ll need to do a few things to prepare.

Residents of the Beverly Hills, California area looking to get a stress test have nothing to worry about. Dr. Shawn Veiseh and his caring staff can help with a wide variety of tests and treatments, including stress tests.

What is a stress test?

Also called an exercise stress test, this is a method that uses physical activity to monitor how well your heart works. During this test, your blood pressure and heart rate are closely monitored while you walk on a treadmill, or use a stationary bike.

This is designed to stress your heart and allow your specialist to see if there are any possible heart problems or underlying conditions. You typically start getting this test around 40, but if you’re younger and experiencing chest pains or other heart-related issues, this may also be used.

What does it accomplish?

Proper blood flow is extremely important for a healthy heart, and this test can help determine whether or not your heart is circulating blood properly. Large deposits of substances like cholesterol and plaque can block coronary arteries and create lots of problems. This test can be used to find out if you have conditions often related to high cholesterol or artery blockage like coronary heart disease, but it can also help detect heart rhythm issues (arrhythmia), heart valve disease, or heart failure. Catching these issues early or even testing to see the extent of the damage if you already have a heart condition can make treatment easier to manage.

How do you prepare?

Before getting a stress test, you will usually have an overall physical exam, as well as discuss your medical history with your specialist and express any concerns about chest pains and other symptoms if you have them. Conditions like arthritis or diabetes should definitely be discussed beforehand, as both can affect your ability to exercise long enough for the test to be effective. 

Light, breathable clothing will be recommended on the day of testing, along with shoes you are comfortable running in. You may be asked to avoid smoking, eating or drinking for at least three hours before the test. Caffeine may need to be avoided a day before the test. Your specialist will let you know what medications should not be taken and for how long before the stress test.

The test itself will take about 15 minutes, and will include a blood pressure check, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and time on either a treadmill or an exercise bike. If you experience any shortness of breath, chest pains, or weakness, the test will stop and your specialist will determine what steps to take next.

The stress test doesn’t have to stress you out. If you need a stress test or have questions about them don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Veiseh today.

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