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What Exactly is a Stress Test

A stress test is also referred to as an exercise test. The main goal of a stress test with a Phoenix cardiologist is to gather critical data used to assess how the heart works while the body is engaged in physical activity. Physical exertion causes the heart to pump blood faster and with more force than while the body is at rest.

As the heart begins to work harder, the test can reveal problems that may not be noticeable. During the test, people typically walk/jog on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are monitored. A doctor will typically recommend a stress test if they suspect a heart disease or noticed an irregular heartbeat.

What are the Benefits of Stress Tests?

Your healthcare provider may schedule a stress test for a variety of reasons:

  • Diagnose Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary arteries are the major blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Coronary heart disease occurs when these blood vessels become damaged from causes such as plaque accumulation. Common symptoms of coronary heart disease include difficulty breathing, pain in the chest during physical activity and shortness of breath. Undergoing a stress test can provide an accurate diagnosis.

  • Diagnose Heart Arrhythmia

Heart arrhythmias are a result in the malfunction of electrical impulses that regulate your heart. When these electrical impulses malfunction your heart can beat too slow or too fast. Common symptoms such as a fluttering or racing feeling in your chest may be a result of a heart arrhythmia.

  • Strategize Future Medical Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, your healthcare may require a stress test to assess how current treatment is working or as an assessment for future medical treatment.

Are there any Potential Risks with Stress Tests?

As with any medical procedure or test there are risks. Stress tests pose minimal risks, but there can be potential complications in rare instances:

  • Low Blood Pressure Blood pressure can drop suddenly during or after the test causing dizziness. This usually subsides within minutes.
  • Arrhythmias Exercise induced heart palpitations can occur as a result of the stress test, but typically go away shortly after the activity ends.
  • Heart Attack In extremely rare instances it is possible a stress test can result in a heart attack.

What can I Expect?

The rigor and duration depends on your physical fitness level and symptoms. Most Arizona cardiologists like your heart to work for a range of 8-12 minutes in order to gather enough information and data. The typical stress test lasts less than 15 minutes.

AZ Heart Doctor offers comprehensive noninterventional cardiology services for the Valley with a Double Board Certified cardiologist Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe and the entire East Valley trusts. Most insurance is accepted.

Call (480) 300-4646 for more information and scheduling today!

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