Stress Test : the basics

Stress Test : the basics

Our body reacts in an individualistic manner while responding to certain threats. Whenever our body senses a danger the natural stimulus that it puts forward is called stress. The reason why different people handle stress so differently depends on their body types and hence they have different levels of stress as well.

Uncontrolled high stress levels can lead to heart diseases. There are quite a few benefits of stress tests. it not only helps in evaluating the adequate blood flow to the heart during levels of physical activity but also determine the degree of effectiveness of our heart to control various medical complications such as ischemia and angina. Doctors use the test results to help patients develop a safe exercise program suitable to their heart conditions.

These stress tests are conducted by doctors or trained medical personnel to determine the quantum of stress that a heart can handle without putting extra pressure that restricts the flow of blood to the heart or before the heart develops any sort of abnormal rhythm. The exercise stress test is one of the most commonly conducted tests. An exercise stress helps diagnoses how does the heart respond when it undergoes exertion. The person undergoing the tests is usually made to participate in some sort of physical activity. For instance it involves cycling a bicycle or simply walking on a treadmill while the blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiogram are generally monitored.

There are many different types of stress tests which one can go through depending on what suits one best. Apart from the Treadmill Stress Test which involves some amount of physical activity, there are tests suited for those who are unable to perform physical activities. The Adenosine or Dobutamine Stress Test is one such test. While conducting this test the patient is given a drug which makes his heart respond as if the person was undergoing physical activity or exercising. The doctors then determine the heart stress response from this. An echocardiogram is also widely used in this field.  It graphically outlines the movement of the heart. It is considered to be on the most accurate measures of the motion of the heart and its beating movement when it is stressed. One benefit of this test is that it reveals a lack blood flow which may not be easily visible through other tests.

Timely diagnosis of the stress levels can help take precautions at the right stage. One should consult the doctor about detailed instructions before taking any step as the preparation for these types of special tests vary from person to person.

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