Your heart is an important organ in your body, and it can be damaged and affected by many things. As you get older, the chances of experiencing heart problems can increase, and there may come a time when your doctor recommends for you to have a stress test. If you have never done this before, you may wonder what to expect from this and what it is for. Here are some important things you should know as you prepare to get this.
Doctors Only Recommend Stress Tests When Heart Problems Are Suspected
Two common health conditions people live with and do not often know about are high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Both of these can go unnoticed for many years; however, both can have negative impacts on a person's heart. If you go to the doctor for a checkup, your doctor may want to check these things out. The doctor can test your blood pressure with a blood pressure device, and you can find out right away if you have high blood pressure. To find out your cholesterol levels, the doctor will take blood work and have it tested.
If you have either of these problems or any other type of problem related to your heart, the doctor is likely to recommend getting a stress test completed. Your doctor may also recommend it if you are struggling with shortness of breath or chest pain. Getting a stress test might be something you will have to do each year after this, too, and it is done to determine the condition of your heart and to find problems with your heart.
What A Stress Test Is Like
Before you go in for your stress test, you may have some instructions to follow. For example, you may not be able to eat or drink before the test, except for water, and your doctor will tell you how long to fast. You may also need to stop taking certain medications for a period of time before your stress test.
When you arrive to go through with the test, the doctor may check your vital signs before you begin. Next, the doctor will hook up machines to you, and these will track important data from your heart. Once everything is hooked up, you will be asked to walk at a fairly decent pace on a treadmill for a certain length of time or until you cannot handle walking anymore.
What The Test Reveals
A stress test can reveal a lot of different things, but it is primarily used to diagnose heart disease. A doctor will be able to tell a lot by the way your heart pumps during your test, and there are a variety of different things he or she will look for during and after the test. The purpose of finding this out is to help you get treatment for the problem you have.
There are medications available to treat many types of heart problems, but it is always easier to treat a heart condition if it is discovered at an early stage. If you find out what is wrong with your heart and get treatment for it, you are likely to live longer and stay healthier longer.
In addition to taking medication, your doctor might also recommend making some changes with the way you live. For example, if you are currently a smoker, the doctor may tell you to stop. If you currently do not exercise, the doctor may tell you to start. There are several common lifestyle changes doctors recommend when people have heart problems.
If you are suffering from issues with your heart, shortness of breath, or pain, you should visit a primary care physician, such as those at Rural Health Services Consortium Inc., to find out what you can do to get the problem diagnosed and treated.