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What Can I Expect During a Stress Test?

What Can I Expect During a Stress Test?

It’s a good rule of thumb in life to find ways to reduce stress, which can greatly benefit your health and wellness. So why are we going to purposefully introduce a little bit of physical stress into your life through a stress test?

Quite simply, this type of screening can change the course of your health for the better, if not save your life.

So, when board-certified cardiologist Dr. James Kim recommends that you undergo stress testing, please understand that the benefits far outweigh any minor discomfort you may experience for a few minutes.

To give you an idea about what you might expect during your stress test here at James Kim Cardiology, we pulled together the following.

Why stress testing?

Just to make sure you understand the incredible benefits of stress testing, we want to quickly review why we routinely use this screening tool.

To call your cardiovascular system hard-working is a major understatement. Each day, your heart beats about 115,000 times as it circulates about 2,000 gallons of blood. This blood carries life-sustaining oxygen to your cells, so we want to make sure your heart and blood vessels are functioning well.

While measuring your blood pressure and heart rate can provide us with some insight, we take these vital statistics while you’re sitting in our office. If we want a better glimpse of how your cardiovascular system is functioning, we need to measure these same statistics when your heart is working hard.

Through stress testing, we can better assess you for serious heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, which affects 1 in 20 adults in the United States. 

Preparing for your stress testing

When we perform a stress test, we’re going to want you to break a sweat, either on a treadmill or on a stationary cycle. (If you have physical  limitations, we can use medication to get your heart rate up.) 

Since we’re asking for physical exertion, we recommend that you wear comfortable, loose clothing, as well as sneakers.

We also ask that you don’t take in any caffeine before your stress test, and you should avoid putting lotion on your body because we need to attach electrodes to your skin.

During your stress test

When you arrive, we set you up with the monitoring equipment, which includes the aforementioned electrodes for the electrocardiogram.

We may also take images of your heart before you exercise, as well as afterward, to compare images.

Once you’re all set up, you simply start moving on the treadmill or bike. We gradually ramp up the speed, as we want to really get your heart pumping. All the while, we check with you verbally and record any symptoms, such as heart palpitations, that you might be experiencing. 

Rest assured, if it gets too uncomfortable, we will stop.

In total, your stress test should take only about 30 minutes and, once you’re done, you’re free to get on with your day.

For our part, we review the information we gathered during your stress test and identify any potential issues that might warrant further investigation.

If you have more questions about your upcoming stress test, please don’t hesitate to contact us at one of our offices in Chula Vista or National City, California.

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