Sometimes called exercise stress tests or treadmill tests, a stress test is a type of physical examination that monitors the way a patient’s heart works during physical activity. Since the heart has to pump blood faster and harder during exercise, monitoring this type of activity can sometimes reveal problems with the way blood flows in the heart. Stress tests are used to diagnose problems such as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeat rhythms), and to help guide doctors in the ongoing treatment of their patients.
What to Expect During a Stress Test
During a stress test, a patient will be asked to perform a particular level of exercise on either a treadmill or stationary bicycle, while hooked to an electrocardiograph (EKG) machine that reads electrical impulses from the patient’s heart. Throughout the stress test, the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing will also be monitored.
When Should a Person Have a Stress Test?
Stress tests are usually unnecessary, except for patients who have particular symptoms and/or risk factors. Although lots of patients have stress tests as a regular part of their wellness routine, they are only considered medically necessary for patients who:
- have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or another heart condition.
- have experienced signs or symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pains, shortness of breath, a heavy heartbeat, or an irregular heartbeat.
- are considered to be at a high risk of developing heart disease, such as individuals with a strong family history of heart disease or individuals who use tobacco.
- have additional heart health risk factors, such as diabetes.
Stress Tests at Abella Health in Miami
At Abella Health, we are fully equipped to conduct cardiac stress tests. A stress test, however, may not be necessary unless you have experienced actual symptoms of a heart attack. It is critical to know the signs and present your entire health history to your doctor. If you have a concern, voice it. We will assess whether a stress test is necessary. Schedule an appointment immediately if you have experienced any warning signs of a heart attack.