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What Can Be Learned From a Stress Test?

What Can Be Learned From a Stress Test?

It’s all well and good to test how well a piece of machinery functions when it’s idling, but it’s often only after putting it through its paces that we see the real picture. This same theory very much applies to your cardiovascular health, which is why we turn to stress testing.

Here at South Mountain Cardiology, our team, including Dr. Nadeem Husain and nurse practitioners Patti Cox and Kim Munneke, prides itself on providing comprehensive cardiovascular care. If we suspect you may have an issue that’s compromising your circulation, we take the steps necessary to investigate further and one of our first stops is the stress test.

Here’s a look at the valuable role that stress testing can play in evaluating your heart health.

Your cardiovascular system in motion

As we mentioned, the goal of stress testing is to evaluate your heart and blood vessels while they’re working. There are three types of stress testing that accomplish this, including:

1. Exercise stress test

During this test, we place you on a treadmill and, starting off slowly, we measure your heart rate, your heart’s electrical activity, and your blood pressure. We continue to ramp up the intensity level of the treadmill, measuring your cardiovascular function along the way.

Once we reach your peak heart rate, we then wind back down (rest assured, we stop any time we see a problem or you feel uncomfortable).

2. Stress echocardiogram

This type of stress testing includes the exercise test above, except we also perform an echocardiogram before and after to better visualize the structures of your heart.

3. Chemical nuclear testing

If you’re unable, for physical reasons, to undergo an exercise test, we can provide you with a medication that causes your cardiovascular system to work harder. To evaluate your cardiovascular system, we inject a radiotracer that allows us to track the movement of your blood.

What stress testing reveals

During your stress test, we’re evaluating a number of different areas, including how well your heart is pumping, valvular function, and the flow of blood through your blood vessels.

The information we gather during your stress test is invaluable for determining whether you may have a cardiovascular issue, such as:

If we find cause for concern during your stress test, our goal is to investigate further and treat the problem before far more serious issues arise, such as heart attack and stroke.

Who should undergo a stress test?

The answer to this questions very much depends upon a number of factors, such as your:

It’s important to note that we don’t only recommend a stress test if you’re experiencing symptoms as, often, cardiovascular disease presents no outward signs. If you have several risk factors together, such as high cholesterol and obesity, stress testing can be an excellent frontline screening tool for cardiovascular disease.

If you have more questions about stress testing, please contact our office in Tempe, Arizona, to set up an appointment.

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