All tests are stressful to some extent, but did you know there’s a stress test for your heart? It specifically focuses on how your heart functions during physical activity, detecting the blood flow. But there are quite a few tips you need to follow in order to have a successful test. This blog will detail everything related to it. From what not to do before a stress test to what you can expect, we’ve got you covered through and through.
What is a Stress Test?
More commonly referred to as an exercise stress test or a cardiac stress test, a stress test in itself is a monitored exam that calculates your cardiovascular health. Since this test aims to get your heart pump at its full speed, you’re required to run on a treadmill. Or, in some cases, ride a stationary bicycle. Either way, a stress test’s main purpose is to identify the minute problems within your cardiovascular health, if any.
Why Do You Need a Stress Test?
It might seem odd at first, but a stress test is essential in order to detect heart diseases. You might not think you have a problem, but internally, your heart might be suffering from a severe condition. This could either be genetic or due to poor lifestyle choices.
Either way, with the help of a stress test, you can minimize the chances of a cardiovascular emergency and seek treatment early on when needed.
Moreover, a stress test can also help pick up on the following characteristics:
- How your heart pumps blood
- If your heart is getting the right amount of blood supplied to it
- How your heart reacts during a physical activity
- If symptoms of heart disease pop up while performing a physical activity
- How strong are your heart muscles or valves
- The way your heart changes between rest and activity
What to Expect During a Stress Test?
If you’re nervous about your cardiac stress test, don’t worry. It’s basically like going to a gym with a personal trainer. Before starting, a technician will note down your vital signs, such as blood oxygen, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
They will then attach these tiny electrodes to your arms and chest, further connecting to the EKG machine. This will help monitor your vitals while you’re running or cycling.
Once you’re all hooked up, though, the physical exam will begin.
You will be asked to run on a treadmill or ride a spinning bike. Moreover, your vitals will also be noted throughout the activity, with medical help present if needed.
What Not to Do Before a Stress Test?
Before you head on over to your stress test, there are a few things you need to be mindful of and not do. Here are some crucial tips you can follow for effective test results:
- Avoid eating solid food a few hours before the test begins.
- Stay away from caffeine for up to 24 hours before the scheduled test. (coffee, tea, energy drinks, otc medicines, etc.)
- Do not smoke or indulge in tobacco use.
- Avoid using asthma inhalers or beta-blockers on the day of the test.
- Do not drink alcohol or take any type of drug enhancer.
- Steer clear of chocolate and other confectionery items.
Instead, what you can do is:
- Try practicing breathing techniques to help calm you down.
- Wear loose-fitted clothing
- Opt for comfortable shoes with rubber soles
- Stay well-hydrated throughout the day
The Final Takeaway
In short, when it comes to what not to do before a stress test, there are some crucial tips you need to keep in mind. Such as not eating solid foods, avoiding caffeine, and only drinking hydrating liquids. Nonetheless, if you want to schedule a stress test of your own, reach out to NorthWest Cardiovascular Clinic at (281) 807-5253 for more information.