Just thinking about taking an exercise stress test can be stressful to some patients who have not taken one before. These exercise stress tests are usually performed on a treadmill or a stationary bike where the person will stay until they have reached the maximum level of exertion that they can handle.
These exercise stress tests are used to determine if the symptoms that the patient is having are actually caused by the heart or if they are being caused by some other issue. The exercise stress test results will allow the doctors to make the determination of what needs to be done next for the patient in terms of his heart’s health.
What to Expect
The doctor will always give instructions of what the patient should do before the exercise stress test. Usually, the patient will be instructed not to each or drink anything for at least four hours before the test. In addition, the person should not have any foods that have any caffeine in them for at least twelve hours before the test is taken.
If the person is on some sort of heart medication, the doctor will tell him whether or not he should take the medication on the day of the exercise stress test. If the person has diabetes or other health issue that requires monitoring blood sugar levels, the doctor can also tell that person what to do before the test to prepare for it and so that they can get accurate results.
Since the exercise stress test will require just that – exercise, the person should wear clothing that will allow him to move freely and be comfortable during the test. The shoes should be tennis shoes that enable him to walk or ride comfortably and safely during the duration of the exercise stress test.
On the day of the exercise stress test, the technician will measure the heart rate, blood pressure and do an EKG to determine what the baseline functions are for the heart before any exercise is done. Once that is performed, the person will be hooked into the EKG monitor and other monitors for the duration of the test.
During the test, the treadmill or the stationary bike will be increased in speed and intensity at regular intervals. It is important for the patient to tell the technician if there is any pain or dizziness that occurs during the exercise stress test so that the test can be stopped.