Should You Have a Stress Test?

Our hearts beat between 60 and 100 times a minute on average — and more if we're exercising. Doesn't it make sense to make sure your ticker is working as efficiently as possible? A stress test can do just that.

Here at NJ Cardiovascular Institute, with offices located in Secaucus and Newark, New Jersey, board-certified cardiologist Dr. Kunal Patel and our highly trained team can address all of your heart-health concerns. We strongly believe in the power of prevention and conduct diagnostic procedures including stress tests.

A stress test can help you identify heart issues early and prevent more serious complications. Read on to find out how a stress test works, and what to expect.

What is a stress test?

Also called a treadmill test or exercise test, a stress test makes your heart work harder through physical activity. This causes it to need more oxygen and beat faster to pump more blood. During this period of exertion, doctors can more easily diagnose issues with the heart or blood flow that may not be detected during less strenuous activity.

Reasons for a stress test

Stress tests are conducted for a number of reasons, and a medical professional can evaluate if you need one. In general, a stress test can confirm or rule out either of the following:

In addition to helping diagnostically, the test can be used to guide a treatment path. For example, it can determine how well an existing regimen is working or assist in deciding when a valve replacement, heart transplant, or other advanced procedure may be needed.

Stress test procedure

You will be given specific instructions before your stress test. Those may include not eating or drinking before the test, as well as abstaining from smoking and caffeine for a set period of time beforehand. Your medications may need to be modified as well.

 Before the in-office test, Dr. Patel conducts a thorough medical history and evaluates your heart and lungs. He then puts a blood pressure cuff around your arm and attaches electrodes to certain areas on your chest and legs.

Next, you exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike until your heart rate hits the desired target number. If you experience any discomfort, pain, or shortness of breath, be sure to report it immediately.

The test results provide a unique insight into your heart and help guide your customized treatment plan to maintain or improve your health.

 If you want to learn more about the status of your arteries, electrical rhythm, and heart in general, call us at 201-866-7000 or click our “book online” button to make an appointment with Dr. Patel today.

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