A stress test is a physical evaluation used to determine the heart’s function when it’s working the hardest. Since exertion makes the heart pump faster, it is useful to reveal any issues related to the cardiac function or blood flow. For those who wish to live their life to the fullest – schedule a cardiac stress test in Michigan. The feasible approach ensures that the heart functions appropriately and isn’t susceptible to any disease in the longer run.
There are three different types of stress tests. They’re differentiated according to the technique used to conduct the procedure.
Exercise stress test
This is the most common type that involves running on a treadmill or a stationary bicycle. The test occurs under the supervision of a trained exercise physiologist who alters the speed and elevation as the evaluation progresses.
Exercise stress echocardiogram
It is similar to the simpler version, except that it provides a much more detailed assessment of cardiac activity. Exercise stress echocardiogram involves cardiac imaging to show the blood flow in response to the activity.
Nuclear stress test
It is an advanced stress test that utilized safe levels of radioactive substances and cardiac imaging to assess cardiac function. It is a viable technique to determine:
- chance of blockage
- the severity of the existing blockage
- progress of previous treatments such as stent placement or bypass
Cardiac rehabilitation stress test
Stress testing is a part of cardiac rehabilitation advised for patients with heart disease to help them become active. This type of evaluation includes:
- Entrance stress test: to help the team develop a suitable exercise program that complements the patient’s health status
- Exit stress test: to help the team monitor the progress, followed by a long-term exertion strategy
5 Important Things to Know About a Stress Test
A stress test is more than just running on a treadmill and getting an image of the heart’s function. It renders tremendous benefits for health by diagnosing and preventing a variety of heart-related diseases. Following are five important benefits, you need to know about a stress test:
Provides insight into circulatory efficiency
One of the fatal heart conditions includes coronary artery disease, in which the major blood vessels are blocked. The blockage is known as plaque and deprives the heart of essential nutrients. CAD increases the risk of angina attack and myocardial infarction with can be life-threatening as well. There are different kinds of stress tests that are efficient in detecting any interruption in blood circulation.
Assess Heart’s Rhythm
Any problem in the rhythm of the heart is known as arrhythmia. It suggests whether the heart is beating too fast or too slowly or irregularly. With heartbeat being monitored before, during, and after the test aids and abets the physician to diagnose any irregularity in it.
Guiding Treatment Strategies
While a stress test is crucial in preventing the onset of various diseases, it also determines the success of a treatment regimen. It indicates whether the medications and lifestyle amendments are working or not.
Determines a fitness plan
Stress tests are also beneficial for determining a safe and effective fitness plan. It allows people who have battled a rehabilitating disease to get back on the fitness track by assessing their health status. Similarly, it helps people who are looking forward to starting a fitness regime. Cardiac stress test determines the capability of cardiac activity to determine the extent and severity of physical exertion.
A prerequisite for surgery
Many physicians prescribe stress tests as an important aspect of the pre-surgery protocol. It gives a clear internal picture of the heart and is viable for procedures such as valve replacement or heart transplant.
WHO WOULDN’T CLASSIFY FOR A STRESS TEST?
Despite its importance in maintaining and improving heart health, the cardiac stress test is not for everyone. It is not prescribed for you if you have,
- a diagnosis for CAD, underwent treatment, and have shown no symptoms for a long time.
- no medical or family history or symptoms of CAD,
It is also contraindicated in conditions like,
- Aortic dissection
- Heart muscle inflammation
- Recent history of heart attack
- existing angina pain
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE TEST?
Just like any physical examination, a stress test requires adequate preparation for the patient’s age. Following are the 6 simple steps for a healthy heart:
- Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes to perform the exercise without any difficulty
- Do not eat anything for a few hours before the test
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, smoking, tobacco, and OTC pills for 24 hours before the test
- Avoid prescription medication on the day of the test. However, in the case of beta-blockers, ask your doctor about their dosing for the day
- If you use asthma inhalers, the physician may allow you to bring them to the test.
- For Diabetic patients, it is important to discuss the meal and medication schedule with the physician, before the test.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
Exercise Stress Test
In this type of stress test, electrodes are place on the chest and abdomen which are attach to an electrocardiogram machine. You’re then advise to run on a treadmill and the heart rate is monitor. With time, the speed is increase to add strain to the heart. However, you might be ask to stop sooner if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or fatigue.
Nuclear Imaging Stress Test
In this test, a radioactive dye is inject via IV to obtain PET and SPECT images to monitor blood flow. The dye is first injected before exercise to make images of the heart at rest. Then you’d be advise to run after being connect to an EKG machine. At the highest speed, the dye will be reinject to obtain images at this stage. Comparing the blood flow during the periods helps to assess damage to the heart or the blood vessels.
The procedure for stress echocardiogram is similar to the previous two but it differs in interpretation. Your physician will use an ultrasound device to access the moving images of the heart before and after the exertion period, to see how well the heart is pumping blood through the body. This test is usually conduct in monitor the narrowing of the coronary arteries.
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What If Someone Cannot Perform Exercise?
Some patients suffer from arthritis or other diseases that limit their mobility. In such cases, medication (such as Dopamine) is administer on IV that produces effects similar to exercise on the heart.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A STRESS TEST?
After the stress test, the physician will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and EKG for 10-15 minutes, after which you’ll be allow to go home. In the case of a nuclear imagine stress test, the physician may recommend avoiding meals for a certain period.
TAKE A STEP TOWARDS A HEALTHY LIFE!
A healthy heart is a validation for a better life. Today, our sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary choices have rendered us susceptible to various health conditions. These diseases, directly or indirectly affect the cardiac system, reducing its function and putting our lives at risk. A cardiac stress test is a wise way to monitor our cardiac health and to keep life-threatening conditions at bay.