A stress test is used to detect the working condition of the heart during physical activities. A stress test can be used to detect if there’s any blood flow problem, coronary artery disease or any abnormal heart rhythms within the heart. The heart usually beats harder and faster during activities like jogging and running.
During a stress test, the patient may be instructed to ride a stationary bike or to walk on a treadmill. While this is going on, the blood pressure, heart rhythm and breathing of the patient will be monitored. And sometimes, the patients will be giving a drug that will inflict the same effects of exercise on the heart.
A stress test is usually recommended by a doctor when a patient shows signs or symptoms of coronary artery disease or arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). In addition, a stress test can be used to measure the progress of a treatment, as a guide for treatment decisions. It can also be used to determine the degree of damage to a heart that has already been diagnosed with a heart problem.
Are there any complications of stress test?
Generally speaking, a stress test is a safe procedure with rare complications. But one may experience any of the following risks of complications.
Low Blood pressure – During or immediately after the test, there’s a possibility that the patient blood pressure may drop, thereby, feeling dizzy or probably faint. But this should go away after the stress test.
Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythm) – One may also experience an abnormal heart rhythm as a result of the exercise stress test. This also usually stops after the exercise.
Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) – A stress test may possibly cause a heart attack but this is exceedingly very rare.
5 Things you need to do before a stress test
- Don’t eat before a stress test.
- Know and understand the effects of the drugs to take before a stress test
- Avoid any substances that contain caffeine 24 hours before the test.
- Exercise beforehand.
- If diabetic, discuss your medication with your doctor before the test