What’s a Stress Test? (Heart Health)
If you have been experiencing chest pain, or your physician has noticed an irregularity in your heartbeat, you may need to take an exercise stress test. This examination shows how well your heart pumps at higher workloads when it needs more oxygen.
You may be asked to walk on a treadmill, pedal a stationary bicycle, or perform another type of exercise that makes your heart beat faster. While doing so, an EKG (a measurement of your rate and regularity of your heart beat) and blood pressure reading is taken before, during, and after the exercise to see how your heart responds to a workout.
The first EKG and blood pressure reading are done to get a baseline. The test continues until you reach a heart rate set by your doctor. The exercise is stopped if chest pain or a very sharp rise in blood pressure occurs. Monitoring continues for 10 to 15 minutes after exercise or until your heart rate returns to baseline.
A stress test provides valuable insight into your heart health, and with the information provided, your doctor should be able to assess whether you have a serious health concern.