Preparing for a Stress Test

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease — and it’s the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It isn’t easy to recognize on its own, but partnering with a cardiologist can help you enjoy a longer, healthier life.

Early identification and personalized treatment are some of the best ways to avoid heart disease complications and improve your heart health, and the right care starts with comprehensive diagnostics.

Kunal Patel, MD and our team specialize in heart care at NJ Cardiovascular Institute. We offer stress testing and other diagnostic services to uncover heart problems and get you started on a treatment plan that meets your needs.

When your stress test is scheduled

A stress test is a safe and effective way to evaluate how well your heart functions when it’s working hard. It’s often used to assess possible causes behind symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.

If Dr. Patel and our team suspect you may have a heart condition, a stress test helps us reach a diagnosis. Stress testing can identify conditions like arrhythmias and coronary artery disease, and may even be used to evaluate how well treatment is working.

Be sure to tell us about any medical conditions that could affect your ability to participate in a stress test, such as arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Let us know if you have diabetes, because we may need to monitor your blood glucose during the test.

For accurate results, you may need to stop taking certain medications prior to your stress test. Review all the medications you take with Dr. Patel to find out if you should modify your medication schedule.

On the day of your stress test

Follow our team’s guidelines for preparation as the day of your stress test gets closer. If you’ve been instructed to stop taking certain medications for a period of time before your test, remember to do so.

Dr. Patel may request that you avoid eating for at least three to four hours before your stress test. You may also need to avoid caffeinated beverages and smoking on the day of your test.

You’ll be on a treadmill or stationary bike for up to 15 minutes during your test, so it’s important to wear comfortable clothing and shoes to your appointment. Lightweight, breathable clothes and athletic sneakers are a good choice.

What to expect during your stress test

Most stress test appointments last about an hour, including time to prepare you for the test. When you arrive, we check your vital signs and listen to your heart and lungs. If you’ve had any chest pain leading up to the test, let our team know.

We attach electrodes to your skin so they can monitor your heart function as you exercise. Then you walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike until your heart rate reaches a set target.

Dr. Patel and our team record and review your results. Once your test is complete, we discuss your results with you and use the information to develop a personalized heart health plan for you.

Stress testing is a simple, effective way to better understand your heart health. Find out more by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Patel and our team at NJ Cardiovascular Institute. To make an appointment, contact us through the online booking tool or call one of our offices in Secaucus, Newark, or Paramus, New Jersey.

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