Have you recently experienced chest pain and fatigue? If yes, maybe it’s time to get your heart checked by medical professionals.

Cardiovascular and arterial conditions can ruin the quality of your life. It’s important to catch these problems early and recognize the symptoms of the condition so you can take action today. There are different ways to assess the condition of your cardiovascular health, and one of them is an exercise treadmill test. This test can give you some insight on your heart health.

What Happens During A Stress Test?

The exercise treadmill test, also called a cardiac stress test, involves having the patient walk on a treadmill at varying speeds and elevations to identify how their heart performs under the effort of exercise. The objective of the test is to understand how healthy and strong the heart is and whether it’s working correctly or not.

During the test, patients are hooked to a monitoring machine and are asked to walk on a treadmill. The initial speed is very slow, with zero elevation. As the test progresses, the doctor increases the speed and elevation incrementally. By the final stage of the test, the patient has to walk up an elevation that resembles a small hill.

The entire stress test takes about 45 minutes to complete, with the first 15-20 minutes used to take pictures and readings of your heart when sedentary. The rest of the test is devoted to the exercise.

If patients are medically prevented from walking on the treadmill, their heart may be put under stress using a chemical injection. This injection is safe and is used only to understand how the heart reacts under external pressure.

If at any point the patient feels unable to continue the exercise, he/she has the option to request the doctor to end the stress test.

Who Should Take The Test?

Any person above the age of 45, with a family history of the cardiovascular and arterial disease should consider taking the stress with the exercise treadmill. You will also make a good candidate if you are experiencing constant chest pain and fatigue. Lastly, any person who has been diagnosed with a heart condition should undergo regular stress test checks.

Preparing For The Cardiac Stress Test

It is recommended that you fast the night before the treadmill test and to pass on the tea/coffee and breakfast on the morning of the test. You should also avoid taking any medication or beta blockers at least 18 hours before the test. You are advised to move around and keep yourself active for a few days before your test, as this will help you undertake the test without inconveniencing yourself too much.

Understanding The Results of An Exercise Treadmill Test

Exercise treadmill tests aren’t 100% accurate. However, they do indicate possible heart complications. The results you can receive from the test may be positive or negative.

A positive result indicates that:

• You may have a breathing problem as a result of the chest pain.
• Your heart may be receiving a low supply of oxygen either when sedentary, while exercising, or both.
• Your heart rate and BP may be lower than normal.
• You may have the onset of coronary artery disease.
• You may be at high risk of a heart attack.

A negative result indicates that you don’t show any visible signs of cardiovascular disease. However, it is important to remember that a negative result doesn’t mean you will remain safe from arterial or cardiovascular concerns your entire life.

It’s best to get your heart checked through a cardiac stress test once every six months if you are above the age of 45 and have a family history of cardiovascular diseases.

Schedule Your Stress Test With the Houston Cardiovascular Institute

It’s important to receive stress tests early, especially if you have a family history of cardiovascular problems, in order prevent any future problems that may occur. Contact the Houston Cardiovascular Institute to schedule your stress test today!