In cardiovascular terms…

What is it?

A stress test records your heart's electrical activity (rate and rhythm) during exercise. During the test, a cardiologist and a technician should be present. Electrodes will be fastened on your chest, the same as for an electrocardiogram (EKG). You will then be asked be asked to walk on a motorized treadmill. The speed and incline of the treadmill will be gradually increased. Your doctor will be looking for changes in the EKG pattern and any symptoms that you might be experiencing. Depending on your stamina and symptoms, you might on the treadmill for up to 15 minutes., If you get too tired or are experiencing chest pains, the test will be stopped. All in all it takes about a half hour and must be ordered by your doctor.

Why is it done?

Well, the test will help your doctor evaluate your cardiac condition related to any irregular heart rhythms or if there is a decreased supply of blood and oxygen to your heart during exercise. It will also determine how hard your heart can work before you develop any symptoms and what your target heart rate should be.

How do I prepare for the test?

You should have nothing to eat or drink except water four hours prior to test . Naturally, no caffeine or smoking should occur at least four hours before the test.

If you're on insulin or any other medications, consult your doctor on how best to adjust the dosage and your food intake prior to the test.

Do not apply lotions, oils or powders to the chest area lest the electrodes might fall off.

Last but not least, wear comfortable clothes and walking or jogging shoes. Oh, it might be wise to bring a towel to wipe off any sweat.

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