I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.
If you've been having chest pain, dizzy spells, or irregular heartbeats, your doctor may refer you to a cardiologist for an evaluation. A cardiologist can order several different diagnostic tests to determine if you have cardiac disease and what's causing it. Two common tests the cardiologist may order are a stress test and Holter monitoring. Here is what to expect if you have to take these tests.
The Cardiac Stress Test
The stress test may be given in a cardiology clinic or hospital, such as http://www.billingsclinic.com. To do this test, you'll exercise while you are hooked up to cardiac monitoring equipment. This allows your doctor to see how well your heart tolerates stress. If you are able to walk without difficulty, you may take the test on a treadmill. If you have hip or back problems, you may need to take the test on a stationary bicycle instead. Since you'll be exercising strenuously, wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes to your test.
Before the test begins, you'll have an EKG taken along with your vital signs to get a baseline. You'll stay connected to the EKG machine as you exercise so the doctor can get a continuous readout of your heart rhythm. In addition, your blood pressure will be checked regularly to see if it elevates as your body goes under stress. The intensity of your workout gradually increases until you get exhausted or until you begin having symptoms that indicate you need to stop.
When your cardiologist evaluates the results of this test, he or she can see how well your heart tolerates physical stress. If your blood pressure and heart rate escalate, it could be a sign of coronary disease. If the doctor sees changes in your heart rhythm, this could also indicate cardiac problems and the need for further testing.
The Holter Monitor Test
A Holter monitor is a portable device that continuously monitors your heart. Your cardiologist may want you to wear one of these if you experience fluttering or irregular heartbeats. The monitor is small, so it won't interfere with your daily routine. You can wear it around your neck or slip it in your pocket. It can stay on for one day or longer depending on how long your doctor wants to monitor you. You go about your usual activities at home and at work. When you experience the sensation of an irregular heartbeat, you press a button so the doctor can sync the readout of your heart rhythm with your sensation. Also, you'll need to keep a daily diary of all your activities. This helps the doctor understand what triggers your heart arrhythmia. Diagnosing an arrhythmia is important because if left untreated, it could increase your risk of having a stroke.
These are just two common cardiac tests that help your cardiologist diagnose your heart disease and determine its severity. You may also need to undergo cardiac scans and other lab tests so your doctor gets a comprehensive look at your heart health in order to manage your condition effectively.Share
6 March 2017