Alternate name: Treadmill test, Treadmill Stress Test, Exercise Stress Test, Exercise Treadmill Test, Cardiac Stress Tests
For many athletes and individuals looking for a level of fitness beyond the normal, they need ways to determine if their body can take the kind of pressure they want to exert on it. A stress test is one way to determine fitness and capability. The tests can take place on a stationary cycle or on a treadmill. Before a patient starts the treadmill test, a technician will use an ECG test to determine the heart rate at rest before asking the patient to exercise for a treadmill stress test. The patient then begins by walking on a treadmill which leads to jogging then running. Sweating, heart rate and breathing rate will all go up as it gets harder. If a patient feels dizzy, experiences arm or jaw pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or any other symptoms, the patient is expected to inform the lab technician about what is going on.
It’s not just the athletes and fitness fans who benefit from stress tests. Stress tests also check to determine if the flow of blood to the patient’s heart is adequate when heart rate activity goes up. If a patient is on medication for a heart problem that occurred previously, a treadmill test can be used to evaluate how effective the heart medication is. Without proper control, patients can suffer from angina or ischemia. If a doctor is unsure about whether a patient has coronary heart disease, a treadmill test can help determine the presence of it. Some patients who go in for cardiac surgeries to restore normal blood flow within the heart vessels will be asked to take a treadmill stress test to determine the effectiveness of the surgery or other method used on the patient to restore blood flow. When the heart is stressed, the rhythm of it could change and this will help doctors determine if the patient suffers from arrhythmia during exercise. Many people are also scared that jumping into an exercise routine will do more harm than good and getting a stress test done will allow a doctor to create an exercise routine that’s appropriate for the fitness levels demonstrated.