Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is the best way to prepare for a stress test?"
I?m nervous but I want to pass my test with flying colors. Is there anything I can do beforehand?
The best person to discuss this with is the doctor who ordered the test. A stress test is a diagnostic study that looks at the ability of the heart and the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood (the coronary arteries) to do their jobs without any problems such as symptoms of chest pain or significant shortness of breath. Problems such as blockages in the coronary vessels might not cause symptoms at rest but will during exercise when the heart is pumping harder. Your goal for your stress test is to go on the treadmill for as long as you can without significant symptoms of shortness of breath or chest pain. The longer you go, the more likely it is that the test will show what its supposed to show. A stress test that shows no abnormalities (so-called passing the stress test) occurs when there are no abnormalities that can be elicited by maximal exercise. There is really no way of doing that other than performing aerobic exercise to get in shape. This is something you should be doing anyway as long as you are healthy enough to exercise. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or cardiologist, whoever ordered the test. This way you can discuss the purpose of the test and what you can do to make sure that it is successful diagnostically.
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