Stress can affect your body in many ways. By undergoing stress testing, your doctor can tell if your heart is being adversely affected by your day-to-day stresses.
You have probably heard that stress, broadly speaking, can affect your heart adversely. This fact encroaches upon the realm of “common knowledge," and you have probably heard as much from friends, family members, neighbors, and health care professionals alike. And while we are all exposed to certain types of stress in our daily lives, specific kinds of stress can pose serious concerns when it comes to the human heart.
Stress testing is routinely used to detect possible heart disease. At Apex Cardiology, stress tests are performed by our team of medical professionals in order to obtain an assessment of the amount of real-world stress (physical stress) your heart can handle before indicating evidence of irregular heart rhythm or ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart).
An exercise stress test, or exercise electrocardiogram, typically is used to provide the doctor with insights as to how your heart responds to incrementally increasing levels of strenuous exertion. This type of stress test typically involves the use of a treadmill or stationary bike at exponentially increasing levels of exertion. All the while, the doctor records your heart rate, blood pressure, and other diagnostic information.
If you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, due to your own past history of heart conditions or a family history of heart disease, you may be a candidate for stress testing. Our doctors can also perform stress testing to address other specific needs, on a case-by-case basis. At Apex Cardiology, our doctors use stress testing for the following purposes:
- Check for sufficient blood flow to the heart under stressful conditions
- Measuring the efficacy of heart medications you are prescribed
- Predict the possibility of heart disease or further evaluation
- Recognizing unusual heartbeats
- Evaluating the effectiveness of pre-existing cardiovascular procedures
- Testing the function of heart valves
- Planning for a healthy and safe exercise regiment
There are a few different stress tests available for the diagnosis of certain suspected heart issues.
Some of the available stress tests in Inglewood, via Apex Cardiology, include:
Treadmill stress testing – ideal for those who are capable of unassisted ambulation, and who show a normal ECG reading, this type of stress testing is typically the first performed. The process involves simply walking on a treadmill until either you experience chest pains or your real-time ECG indicates that your heart is not receiving enough blood flow.
Echocardiogram – this process is sometimes simply referred to as an “echo" exam. It provides a visual outline of the movements of the heart, simulating the state of the organ during exercising. This type of stress test is ideal for those who cannot perform exercises
Adenosine stress testing – this is another test ideal for those patients who cannot perform exercises. This allows the doctor to estimate how ably the heart reacts to physical stress, without actually imposing exertion.
Nuclear – this type of stress testing allow the doctor to know if certain parts of your heart are functioning normally or if further exploration is needed. In this instance, a tiny portion of a radioactive substance is introduced into your body. The process then involves taking photographs of the heart during periods of rest and exertion. From these photos, the doctor can determine how the heart reacts under real world situations.
Preparing for any of these stress tests is very important. You do not want to arrive for testing with your heart already exhibiting signs of stress that might skew the results of the tests, and the doctor will advise you on how to prepare for your test.
Stress testing is the best way to reveal underlying heart conditions early enough to take action. In a controlled, observed environment, your doctor can observe how your heart behaves under pressure, and that can be the life-saving catalyst to your overall health. However, the only way to know is to get tested, so you cannot afford to delay. Contact our friendly office staff to schedule a talk with one of our friendly and knowledgeable cardiologists today.
Remember, the health of your heart cannot wait until tomorrow,
and the call you make today may save your life!