A stress test, also known as an exercise test or treadmill test, is a way of testing how well the heart functions when the patient engages in physical activity. The heart pumps faster and harder during exercise than when the patient is resting. A stress test can, therefore, reveal problems that might otherwise go unnoticed.
What Does a Stress Test Involve?
We will ask about the patient’s medical history. We will especially want to know if the patient has a history of heart disease and how much exercise they usually get. Knowing the latter will help us decide on how much exercise we should ask the patient to do while being tested.
A technician will glue electrodes onto the patient and hook them up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. A cuff will also be placed around the patient’s arm to monitor their blood pressure. We may also ask the patient to breathe into a tube to see how well they breathe while exercising.
The patient will then be instructed to walk on a treadmill or ride on a stationary bike. At first, they will walk or ride slowly. The technician will adjust the exercise to further exert the patient.
The patient will continue the exercise until their heart reaches a desired rate or until they are unable to continue. The patient should stop if they develop any of the following symptoms: extreme shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, abnormal heart rhythm or unusual changes in their blood pressure.
Where is a Stress Test Held?
Stress tests are administered in the comfort of our office in Fort Myers. A doctor, nurse or technician may run the test. The patient’s primary care provider may recommend a stress test if the patient has a history of heart disease or is showing symptoms of heart disease. Stress tests are always ordered by a doctor.
Could I Benefit from a Stress Test?
Everybody over a given age should undergo stress tests. This simple test can tell you a lot about your overall health and well-being. Make an appointment with our cardiologist at Cardiology Consultants of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers to learn more about how this test can benefit you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.