If you’re experiencing symptoms that suggest cardiopulmonary disease, you may need a stress test to measure your heart and lung function while under duress. At the McKinney, Texas, office of Cardiac Center of Texas, board-certified physicians Muhammad Khan, MD, and Ambreen Ashfaque, MD, use stress tests to monitor the way your heart and lungs to respond to exercise and physical stress. Call the office or schedule online to learn more.

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What is a stress test?

A stress test combines an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood pressure monitoring, and lung function testing with exercise to monitor your cardiopulmonary function while your body is exercising – a form of physical stress. This stress test allows your doctor to monitor your heart and lung function when your cardiovascular system is being challenged.

During the test, the test administrator attaches electrodes to your chest and back. You also wear a blood pressure cuff and a mask that covers your mouth and nose. This equipment measures your body’s responses to exercise.

Why would I need a stress test?

You may need a stress test if you’ve presented with symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms suggest possible cardiopulmonary disease.

What can a stress test reveal about my health?

The stress test offers informative diagnostic information.

The results of your stress test help your doctor diagnose conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Arrhythmia
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

These cardiopulmonary conditions can be aggravated by physical stress.

How should I prepare for a stress test?

The staff at the Cardiac Center of Texas gives you specific instructions to follow prior to your test. Usually, they’ll ask you not to eat or smoke two hours prior to your scheduled test time. You should also avoid caffeine for 24 hours before your test.

Of course, take any prescribed medications, but avoid over-the-counter medications such as aspirin.

Dress comfortably and wear shoes appropriate for walking on a treadmill or for pedaling a stationary bike. You can ask any questions about the stress test prior to your appointment to make sure you’re adequately prepared.

What happens during the stress test?

The entire stress test takes about one hour from start to finish. You’ll first have electrodes from the EKG attached to your chest and back. The staff also fits you with a blood pressure cuff.

Monitoring of your heart and lung functions begins while you’re at rest to provide a baseline measurement. You start walking on a treadmill or pedaling gently on a low-resistance stationary bike. Over the course of the test, your doctor gradually ramps up the intensity of your exercise by increasing any resistance and speed.

Throughout the test, your doctor monitors your heart and lung function. The test is complete when you can no longer keep up with the exercise. Sometimes, you may be able to keep going, but your doctor has gotten all the necessary information for a diagnosis.

If you have symptoms of cardiovascular disease, a stress test may be recommended as a screening tool to assess your condition. Call Cardiac Center of Texas or book online today to learn more.