Heart Vascular and Leg Center
Vascular Specialists & Cardiologists located in Bakersfield, CA
If you’re experiencing symptoms that point to a heart condition, you may benefit from a stress test that monitors your heart during physical activity. Cardiologist Vinod Kumar, MD, FACC, specializes in cardiology and offers stress tests at Heart Vascular and Leg Centers to assess heart health and provide you with the answers you need. To schedule a visit, call the office in Bakersfield, California, or book an appointment online today.
Stress Test Q & A
What is a stress test?
A stress test is a diagnostic tool your provider uses to assess how your heart functions when it’s under physical stress. They may recommend the test to diagnose a cardiac condition, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), which occurs when the arteries that supply blood to your heart are narrowed or blocked due to plaque buildup.
Many patients are referred to Heart Vascular and Leg Center by their primary care physician after experiencing tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Your physician may also recommend a stress test to help them develop your treatment plan if you’ve been diagnosed with CAD, or recently had a heart attack, to determine the extent of the damage done to your heart.
What does a stress test detect?
Your stress test is used to detect whether your heart is getting enough blood during exercise. During the test, your physician is looking for:
- Abnormalities in your heart rate
- Abnormalities in your blood pressure
- Changes in the rhythm of your heart
- Abnormal electrical activity in your heart
The test also allows your provider to assess your tolerance for physical activity, including whether exercise causes you to feel short of breath or chest pain. These symptoms may indicate that you have CAD.
How do I prepare for a stress test?
Your physician provides you with specific instructions on preparing for your stress test. You may be advised to avoid caffeine before your test, and your provider may also suggest modifications to your medication schedule.
You also want to come to the appointment dressed in comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for walking or running. Also, you shouldn’t apply any lotion to your body before your test.
What can I expect during a stress test?
Your provider conducts your stress test at the office. Before they begin, they review your medical history and checks your blood pressure and heart rate. Then, electrodes are attached to your chest and an electrocardiogram (EKG) to monitor the electrical activity in your heart during your workout.
Once you’re all set, your provider has you begin your exercise program, which may be conducted on a treadmill or stationary bike. Your physician increases the intensity of your exercise gradually until you reach a set target.
If you feel any discomfort at any point during your stress test, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, let your provider know right away so they can stop the test.
Once you’ve completed your stress test, you can resume your usual activities. Your physician may schedule a follow-up appointment to go over the test results and a recommended treatment plan.
For expert cardiac care, contact Heart Vascular and Leg Center by phone or online today.