Heart or cardiovascular diseases remain as one of the major causes of deaths among adult Australians. In 2013 alone, it is reported that at least 43,600 Australians died due to complications of these diseases. Studies also contend that heart illnesses affect more than 3.7 million Australians. Because of the prevalence of these diseases in the country, it is a must for all Australians to take care of their cardiovascular health and to undergo precautionary medical tests to determine if whether or not they are prone to such diseases.
Heart Stress Test as a Preventive Measure
One common test for heart diseases is heart stress test. This stress test is done by a cardiologist or a trained technician to analyze the amount of stress a patient’s heart can manage prior to developing abnormal rhythm. Stress tests are also used to determine evidence of ischemia, or the inability of the patient’s heart to be supplied with right amount of blood.
Heart stress test is performed at medical centers and cardiology clinics. The test usually starts by placing 10 flat and sticky patches on the patient’s chest. These patches called electrodes are then attached to an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. The patient is asked by the technician or doctor to either walk on a treadmill or ride an exercise bike to get signals from the electrodes. The attending technician may ask the patient to walk or pedal slowly and faster.
There is a variety of reasons why medical professionals advise patients to undergo stress test, including:
- Patient is experiencing pains in the chest (this is to diagnose coronary artery disease)
- Patient had suffered from a heart attack
- Patient’s angina is worsening or happening more frequently than before
- Patient had undergone angioplasty or heart bypass surgery
- Patient will undergo an exercise program that may trigger heart attack or other related health risks
- Patient is suspected to have heart valve problem like aortic valve or mitral valve stenosis
Patients should know that the results for heart stress test may greatly vary depending on their age, heart condition history, and other associated medical problems. In case the test does not provide conclusive results, the cardiologist may ask the patient to undergo further tests.
Heart Test Preparations
If you are planning to undergo heart stress test, there are several things you need to remember in order to successfully complete the test. First, you have to find a reputable medical center or clinic that can provide you with the best stress test. The health care facility should have trained professionals who can adequately perform the test in order to come up with accurate results. Once you have chosen a medical center or clinic, follow these tips:
- Do wear shoes that is designed for walking or exercise
- Do wear loose clothing or clothes that you use for exercise
- Do not take medicines that may alter the results of the test
- Do not smoke, eat, or drink beverages with caffeine or alcohol at least three hours before the test
- Do not drink beverages like tea, coffee, soda, and chocolate
It is important that you undergo heart stress test if you suspect that you are developing cardiovascular disease. If heart diseases are part of your family medical history, you should not think twice about undergoing such tests once you develop early signs and symptoms of heart diseases.
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