We all know how pressurizing tests can be on their own, but one exam has stress literally named to it. This particular stress test is designed to evaluate how well your heart works under pressure. It provides information regarding your cardiovascular health. If you or anyone close to you are due to undergo one, keep these 9 essential things in mind to NOT DO before the stress test.
A Brief Overview of Stress Test
The stress test, infamously known as the exercise or cardiac stress test, is meant to assess your cardiovascular system in detail. It is performed by pushing your heart to its farthest limits through treadmill running or stationary cycling. The test easily unveils issues that may not be seen superficially.
Why Do You Need To Get One?
You might be wondering about the need to put yourself through this. The stress test is a crucial tool for diagnosing heart diseases, even if you feel perfectly healthy. It is possible for your heart to be struggling in silence due to genetic factors or lifestyle choices. Catching issues early on is life-altering in literal terms, reducing the risk of a cardiovascular emergency.
Here are a few things the stress test detects:
- The efficiency with which your heart pumps blood.
- Whether your heart receives an adequate blood supply.
- The reaction of your heart during intense physical activity.
- If symptoms of heart disease emerge during exercise.
- The power of your heart muscles or valves.
- The transitions your heart undergoes between rest and activity.
What Not to Do Before Your Stress Test?
The main goal is to reach optimal results; for that, one should adhere to a few dos and don’ts. Here are a few things that you should not do before your stress test is due.
- Keep your stomach empty and refrain from having any solid food a few hours before the test.
- Do not savor drinks with caffeine for at least 24 hours before your scheduled test.
- Steer clear of smoking or using tobacco products.
- Watch out for all the medications you eat, including asthma inhalers or beta-blockers, on the day of the test.
- Alcohol and any drug enhancers are a strict no-no.
- It is best to steer clear of sugar-based items.
- Do not use lotions, powders, or perfumes on your chest area to ensure electrode pads adhere properly.
- Keep track of the medications you have to continue or stop, including over-the-counter options like vitamins.
- Avoid tight clothing that may interfere with the testing process.
Expectation on Test Day
Feeling anxious about your upcoming stress test is fine, but this one is different. Think of it as a gym session because it functions like a workout. The process begins with a detailed examination of your vital signs, including blood oxygen, heart rate, and blood pressure. Then, small electrodes are meticulously placed on your arms and chest, connecting to an EKG machine to monitor your vital signs during the upcoming activity.
Once they set you up, it is time to hit the treadmill or hop on the stationary bike. Your vitals will be closely observed throughout the exercise, with medical assistance readily available if needed. It is more of a supervised workout that provides critical information about how your heart performs under stress.
Strictly adhere to the don’ts, such as keeping your stomach empty, not having caffeine, quitting smoking, etc., before your stress test yields optimal results. With the guidelines mentioned above, you are now prepared for a successful stress test; it is a small investment in your health that can pay off in big ways. At Atrial Fibrillation Centers of America, Dr. Shanti Bansal – board certified in Internal Medicine (2010), Nuclear Cardiology (2011), Cardiology (2011), and Electrophysiology (2013), and the team is here to deal with all aspects of your cardio needs. You can consult us at (832) 478-5067 or give us a visit in Houston, TX, for more information on stress tests.