Heart Stress Test

A heart stress test is an important to for a cardiologist in a number of cases to ascertain how much oxygen is actually getting to the cardiac muscle. It is most often used when a person complains of chest pain or shortness of breath during exercise. There may be times when, after such things as angioplasty, cardio surgery or a cardio attack the doctor may want to prescribe an exercise regimen, and he or she will need to know just exactly at what level to start the patient. A stress exam is often the way that such a regimen can be compiled. It is a non-evasive way that the cardiac muscle can be evaluated for future or even present day problems.

In Europe, they love the stationary bike as the means of getting the heartmuscle rate up and monitoring its functionality. In the United States, the treadmill is the favored machine of putting stress on the cardiac muscle for monitoring purposes but in either case, in good old London, England or London, Ohio the patient will be asked to start out slowly and work up a good sweat as the heart begins to labor under the exertion. Blood pressure will be monitored and an electrocardiogram will be taken during the exercise period. The electrocardiogram or ECG will measure electrical patterns and activities of the heart. The doctor or the doctor's assistant will monitor all the information during the heart stress test. In the Bible, the heart is viewed as the seat of all thoughts, intents and purposes. Having a heart pure before God, made right through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, is what God desires: "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God." (I John 3:20)

During a heart stress test that is being conducted on the treadmill or stationary bike or other machine meant to put the cardiac muscle through its paces, the patient is in charge of the duration of the exam. In some cases, the patient may ask that the exam be discontinued, especially in the case of chest pain or shortness of breath. Sometimes none of those things happen but the ECG will show signs that something is happening to the cardiac muscle and the doctor or assistant may abruptly end the exam. Patients should not fear taking such an exam because the professionals who monitor the proceedings are watching carefully both the patient and the instruments. In some cases, the doctor may already know of certain cardio problems and only wants to see how intensive an exercise program ought to be allowed for the patient, so the exam is only run for a certain amount of time.

Now of course there are always patients who cannot do the physical exertion of a treadmill or stationary bike heart stress test because there may be too much weight the patient is carrying, or age or in many cases, a severe form of arthritis that really does not permit even mild physical exercise. In this case, a chemical heart stress test is administered. Actually, a more medically correct name would be a pharmacologic stress exam which induces a cardiac muscle speed up that is almost akin to the same action that would occur on the treadmill. In either case of the treadmill or the pharmacologic heart stress test, the exercise will show the cardiologist the rhythm of the heart as well as blocked arteries and the percentage of the blockage. The medicines used for these pharmacologic tests include dobutamine and arbutamine and work to increase the contractions of the cardiac muscle. As with the treadmill or stationary bike exercise, electrodes are also attached to the patient for the pharmacologic test so the physician or assistant can monitor the hearts reaction. People who have asthma, who use a blood thinner, have had caffeine within 12 hours of the test or uncontrolled hypertension (blood pressure) cannot be a candidate for the pharmacologic cardio test.

As a person gets ready to take a heart stress test on a treadmill, the doctor will not want the patient to have eaten for at least four hours before the test. Additionally, liquids should not have been ingested unless there is a need to take some medication. In that case, sips of water only should be taken in order to get any pills down that are required. Even in the case of the typical pharmacological stress test using medicine like dobutamine, a person should not eat or drink four hours before the exam is scheduled. In the case of a Myoview heart stress test food and drink cannot be ingested for up to twelve hours before the scheduled exam. In the case of the Myoview test, a radioactive substance called Myoview will be injected to the bloodstream through the arm and while the treadmill or bicycle exercise is taking place, pictures of the heart's action will be taken.

Any kind of medical exam can be frightening or at least stress producing before it actually occurs. If you are really afraid or anxious, sit down and talk to your physician in detail about the procedure. Maybe there would be an opportunity to watch a procedure in person. The more information you have, the less of the unknown there will be to create doubt and fear. Make sure and wear comfortable clothes to the exam and remember that this is a physical test and not a ticket to the Kentucky Derby. At the Derby, elegant clothes are a given; at this stress test, sneakers are welcomed with open arms.

Heart Attack Prevention

General health and heart attack prevention begins with making better lifestyle choices. Although many questionable lifestyle choices and age put a person at greater risk of coronary disease, there is a segment of the population that has little control over cardiovascular disease. However, according to government statistics, most CVDs can be prevented by making changes to diet, physical activity level, and ceasing tobacco use. Also, some health sources suggest that as many as a half of the deaths and disabilities attributed to coronary disease can be prevented by reducing such risk factors as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, obesity, and smoking. Heart attack prevention should be a concern for both men and women. That's because CVDs afflict both genders. But reports suggest that more women of all ages die from coronary disease then do men. Both men and women from all geographical regions or socio-economic level are at risk of cardiovascular problems. Approximately 1.25 million people in the United States suffer a heart attack each year.

Many young people probably don't think about ever having coronary disease, but heart attack prevention must start early in a person's life. This is because the detrimental effects of a poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and other unhealthy choices will not always be immediately seen. Poor choices show up as a person ages. In addition to coronary disease, the major cardiovascular diseases include: stroke, hypertension, heart failure, and rheumatic heart disease. The heart is a muscle which ages along with the rest of the body. Therefore, early heart attack prevention is important to help keep the muscle strong and healthy later in life. As the person ages, arteries often narrow and stiffen. At the same time, the walls of the heart are also thickening. These changes cause blood pressure to increase in both men and women.

With age the risk of heart attack increases. Studies indicate that men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 are at the greatest risk. Some heat attack symptoms are typical for both men and women: chest pain, shortness of breath, cold sweat, light-headedness; pain in the arm, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Other symptoms appear mostly in women: nausea, vomiting, weakness, indigestion, and fatigue. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and heart attack prevention program is important because symptoms may be insidious. They appear and develop so gradually that a person may not give them the attention they deserve. Although in some people symptoms can appear suddenly and without warning, in others signs of an impending coronary attack may be present six months or more in advance. Cardiovascular diseases are on the rise even in economically developed countries. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. And there is plenty of scientific evidence to support the conventional theories as to why this is happening. The three most often cited reasons are imbalanced nutrition, reduced physical activity, and tobacco use. These lifestyle factors lead to high blood pressure, higher blood cholesterol levels, and obesity.

But heart attack prevention should be a priority, especially for people who have close relatives that have either died or suffered from cardiovascular disease. Christians should feed and care for their body with the same dedication they nurture their spirit, even at an early age. Youth often brings feelings of invincibility, and good health may be taken for granted until something goes wrong. Health is precious, but it is not a passive activity. Health must be maintained and not ignored. The following verse from Proverbs is true in so many ways: "The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin. He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: be he that refuseth reproof erreth." (Proverbs 10: 16-17) Some translations use the word discipline in this passage. Either way, maintaining good physical and spiritual health takes work, discipline, and instruction. Those who don't work hard or refuse instruction from those who know put themselves at a greater risk of CVDs. Health does not come in a bottle. Aging does cause problems that can't be prevented. Just don't help the process along with poor choices early in life.

Pray for spiritual strength and guidance on proper heart attack prevention methods. Then begin making changes to dietary habits. Avoid saturated fats and trans-fatty acids. Instead increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be derived from fish or plant sources. Eat more fruits and vegetables. And increase consumption of whole grains nuts. Limit salt and refined sugar intake. Increase physical activity to at least 30 minutes per day. Avoid smoking and maintain a healthy body weight. Tobacco smoke contains at least 4,800 chemicals, which can damage the heart. Nicotine also narrows the blood vessels. This makes the muscle work harder. As a result, the heart rate and blood pressure increase. Carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke replaces oxygen in the blood. As a result, the muscle has to work harder to supply oxygen to the body. But studies indicate that the risk of cardiovascular disease drops dramatically within one year of quitting smoking. Another part of heart attack prevention is physical activity. Not only does regular exercise strengthen the muscle, physical exertion helps control weight. Small weight loss can decrease blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol. And get regular health screenings. Specifically have blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked frequently.

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