A stress test exercise can be used by clinicians to better determine how your heart functions when performing certain types of physical activities. Not only is this an effective way to diagnose any potential issues that might otherwise remain hidden, but an exercise tolerance test can be used as a “barometer” to gauge your overall health.
There are actually a number of different types of tests and in many cases, these will be determined by the doctor or clinic. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect if a session is scheduled in the near future.
What are the Three Different Types of Stress Tests?
Stress test exercises can be broken down into three main categories and we will summarize each immediately below.
Exercise stress tests
This is arguably the most common type of stress test. As the name suggests, its main intention is to monitor how your cardiovascular system performs when under pressure (such as jogging in place). The total examination will normally take 45 minutes to complete.
Nuclear stress tests
This next examination utilizes imaging software to view how blood circulates around the heart. Note that it can be performed when exercising as well as while at rest. Nuclear stress tests display the overall efficiency of your cardiovascular system and they may even be employed to detect arterial blockages (although other diagnostic tools could also be required).
A stress echocardiogram uses ultrasound technology to obtain live images of your heart before and immediately after an exercise session. One of the main intentions of this procedure is to determine whether or not your cardiac muscles are receiving the proper amounts of blood and oxygen while under physical strain. Stress echocardiograms can sometimes be employed to diagnose those who are suspected of suffering from specific conditions such as congestive heart failure.
How Long Will You be Required to Perform Exercises?
As mentioned previously, the vast majority of stress tests will employ some type of treadmill in order to increase your metabolism and heart rate. We also observed that most tests will take 45 minutes to complete. However, it is important to note here that much of this time is involved with preparation.
Most individuals will perform physical activities on a treadmill for only 15 minutes. Exercising tends to be performed at a moderate pace. In the event that you are unable to walk or lightly jog due to underlying health conditions, you will instead receive intravenous medication that simulates the physical strain your heart would otherwise be under. Above all, the clinician will explain all stages of this test well before it begins. This also provides you with the opportunity to ask any additional questions.
What Parameters are Used to Determine Whether You "Pass" a Stress Test?
The term “passing” might not be entirely appropriate in this sense. It could be better to employ “normal” in terms of what defines a positive test. The basic formula for men and women is as follows:
Maximum heart rate = 220 – your current age
In other words, those who are 40 years old should have a maximum heart rate that does not exceed 180 beats per minute (BPM). Higher numbers may indicate that an issue (such as high blood pressure) is present.
Is Exercise Good for You from a Long-Term Perspective?
Physical exercise provides a host of underlying health benefits. A handful of these include:
- Lower blood pressure.
- A healthier cardiovascular system.
- A lower body mass index.
- Fewer perceived feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Positive self-esteem.
However, determining the best exercise for you will require several factors to be taken into account. These include (but might not be limited to) your age, your gender, your current level of physical activity, any underlying health conditions, and your goals.
Even those who consider themselves to be healthy can often benefit from a professional stress test. Such examinations can likewise be employed if you have already taken advantage of other modern weight loss solutions such as the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon. After all, taking care of your heart is the best way to ensure a long life. To learn more about the benefits of stress test exercises, be sure to speak with your doctor.