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Stress Tests

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Evolution of Stress Tests

A stress test is used to help diagnose and evaluate heart problems such as cardiovascular disease. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have symptoms of a heart problem, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. These tests are frequently performed both in acute care settings and outpatient settings, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

A stress test usually involves physical exercise such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle. As you exercise, your doctor will measure your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as measurable changes in your heart’s electrical activity. If you are not able to exercise, your doctor will give you medicine that will make your heart work hard and beat faster, as if you were exercising. Many times, stress tests also involve the use of radiation, which can be done either at rest or with exercise. In these tests, referred to as nuclear stress tests, a radioactive tracer is injected into you, where it travels through your bloodstream and is absorbed by your healthy heart muscle. At this point, areas of the heart with limited or hindered blood supply can be identified.

Regardless of the type of stress test used, your doctor will carefully monitor you throughout the test to minimize the risk of complications caused by the exercise or medicine used to raise your heart rate

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