Do you have an image in your mind of what a stress test looks like? You’re probably running on a treadmill set at an incline and you’ve got tubes draping off of you in every direction. You’re sweating and huffing and puffing and the whole situation is stressful. This is an image of stress testing that isn’t quite true to reality.
You do not actually need to be a long distance runner to pass this test! And if exercise is not currently an option for you there are stress tests called Nuclear Stress tests which do not require you to get on a treadmill at all.

So how does your doctor decide it’s time for you to undergo this particular diagnostic test? There are a couple of different reasons. First, if you have complained of chest pains, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms which may lead your cardiologist to believe that your heart is getting limited blood flow your cardiologist may recommend a stress test. These symptoms can be signs of a blocked artery, or worse, so alert your cardiologist if you have them. Depending on the severity your doctor may recommend a stress test as it is frequently easier to tell what is wrong with your heart when it is under stress.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with heart disease or have had a heart attack a stress test will show your cardiologist whether you are healthy enough to return to an exercise regimen. The last thing you want is to further stress your heart while you are trying to heal. Once you’re ready to return to your regular exercise routine it’s always best to start slowly and ease your way back in. If you’re unsure about what your next steps should be, or whether you’re ready to get back into the gym ask your cardiologist for advice.

If you’ve recently had a stent placed or a bypass surgery your cardiologist may use a stress test as a way to determine how successful your procedure was. The hope is that after one of these procedures your heart should be able to withstand more stress since formerly blocked pathways have been opened or replaced.

Stress testing is a misleading name for this assessment because the goal is most definitely not to stress you out. Putting your heart under stress is often the best way to determine its overall wellness and diagnose any underlying issues. If you have any of the symptoms above and feel that you need to be under cardiac care, give us a call, we’d love to help you get your health back.