So you’re going to have a stress test? Congratulations! You’re about to learn a lot about your heart’s health–and that’s a good thing. But if you’re like a lot of people, the idea of spending a day sweating it out on a treadmill in front of other people might be causing some, well, stress.
After all, the definition of “stress” is “pressure or tension exerted on a material object.” In the case of a stress test, the “object” is your heart and the “pressure or tension” is provided by a treadmill. That doesn’t sound like very much fun, especially when the objective is to find out if you have or are at risk for heart disease. Throw in the word “test” and now you’re probably worried about passing it.

But there’s really no reason to worry. Here’s why:

It’s a Painless Procedure
Unlike other types of procedures, a stress test is almost 100 percent non-invasive. It doesn’t involve any anesthesia. It might not involve any injections, unless your doctor uses a special type of dye to get a better look at your heart. It’s just you, a treadmill, some electrodes affixed to your chest with a special type of tape, and your medical team. You might feel uncomfortable, but overall it’s a painless procedure that’s over in a matter of minutes.

It’s Not a Sprint … or a Marathon
You’ve probably heard the old axiom that some things are “marathons, not sprints.” Well, a cardiac stress test is neither. In fact, you’ll probably spend fewer than 15 minutes actually exercising. Even then, the treadmill gradually increases its speed and incline, and only as much as necessary for your doctors to develop a clear picture of how well your heart handles an increased workload.

It’s Not as Complicated as it Appears
When your doctor prescribed the stress test, you were provided a list of instructions a mile long, which is designed to help you prepare for the procedure. And you’re probably thinking that this thing i going to be incredibly complex. In reality, a stress test is not nearly as complicated as it appears–and neither is preparing for it. Just try to follow the instructions as closely as possible, paying close attention to what not to do before the procedure–avoiding food, drinking, caffeine, and certain medications. Then all you have to do is show up and let your medical team take it from there.

You’ll Have Plenty of Support
For many people, the idea of working out can be intimidating. This can be especially true if you’ve had previous problems with your heart. But fear not, you will have plenty of support. There will be a team of health care professionals by your side throughout the procedure to closely monitor your health, address your concerns, and make sure that you know exactly what to do every step of the way.

Knowledge is Power
There’s a reason doctors recommend stress tests–because they work. Sometimes, people worry about the procedure (or even choose not to have one) because they are afraid of what it might uncover about the health of their hearts. But remember: Knowledge is power. The test could reveal that your heart is perfectly healthy. It could identify a problem. Either way, you’ll be better prepared to live a healthier life after the test.

If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming procedure, contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions and help you prepare.