Do you experience dizziness? Do you have a low tolerance to exercise, or has your doctor informed you that your cholesterol is too high? If so, you may be wondering about the next step you can take to assess your heart.
A stress test can reveal how your heart copes with physical activity and how it uses oxygen from your blood. By using echocardiography imaging while you’re resting, and after you’ve finished exercising, specialists can diagnose heart conditions, guide treatment, and provide fitness advice.
Because a stress test isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, we asked Dr. Zimmerman what conditions, symptoms, and lifestyle changes should make you inquire about a stress test.
Conditions that may prompt testing
Stress tests are a reliable tool for measuring your heart’s fitness. They can be used to diagnose and monitor the progression of heart disorders and the responses to certain medications.
Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
A stress test can help Dr. Zimmerman determine if your heartbeats are irregular and if other heart conditions could be causing your condition. Electrolyte imbalances and high levels of stress can lead to arrhythmia.
Coronary artery disease
If you experience symptoms of coronary artery heart disease, especially during exercise, you may be a good candidate for a stress test. While you’re on the treadmill, Dr. Zimmerman uses imaging to see if there are areas where your arteries are narrowed, and your heart is receiving less oxygen.
Symptoms and lifestyle changes that require stress testing
Stress testing isn’t just for people who’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease. Here are some of the symptoms and lifestyle changes that should cause you to inquire about your heart’s health.
Obesity and difficulty breathing
Studies show a link between low tolerance to exercise in obese individuals and cardiovascular disease. Long-term studies suggest that low tolerance to exercise can also predict cardiovascular death in otherwise healthy middle-aged men.
A stress test can determine your heart’s ability to tolerate exercise. If your heart struggles to keep up, you may benefit from a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.
Vigorous exercises in the elderly
If you plan to take up walking, a stress test may not be necessary. However, if you plan to engage in more strenuous exercises, it’s recommended to test how well your heart adapts to stress.
Aging can lead to changes in the heart, such as fewer heartbeats per second during exercise and stiffer arteries.
Learn more about stress tests
Stress tests are a non-invasive way to assess your heart’s ability to cope with exercise and receive oxygen from your arteries and blood vessels.
If you’re looking for a diagnosis, or want to prevent cardiovascular disease but don’t know what steps to take, contact us to schedule an appointment and receive expert advice.