So, a treadmill stress test determines how good your heart responds while it’s working at an intense level. Now you are wondering how long does a treadmill test take? Well, it’s pretty simple, during the stress test, you have to exercise on a treadmill, of course! And, it all begins while you are connected to an EKG machine (electrocardiogram). So, this helps your doctor to determine your heart rate. The stress test usually includes walking on a treadmill or bike riding under the supervision of experts.
Read on to know how long does a treadmill test take? And its procedure, preparation, and risks.
How Long Does it Take?
So, the exercise/stress test usually takes an hour, including the prep time and the actual testing time. Thus, the exact stress test takes only 15 minutes. Usually, for the test, you’ll pedal a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill. Also, if you can’t do exercise, you’ll receive a drug through an IV that imitates the effect of exercise on your heart.
1. Before a stress test
So, before taking a test, your doctor will ask some queries concerning your medical history. He will also ask at what level of intensity and how often you exercise. It helps to determine the amount of exercise that is fit for you during the stress test. Also, your doctor will listen to your lungs and heartbeat for any health problem that can affect your results for further care.
2. During a stress test
Then, a technician will place the electrodes (sticky patches) on your chest, arms, and legs. Also, you might have to remove your body hair to help them stick. Further, wires connect the sensors to a computer to record the electrical activity of your heart. And, there is a wristband on your arm to check your blood pressure during the stress test. Moreover, you can also be asked to breathe into a tube to show how well you breathe during the stress test exercise.
3. After a stress test
So, after a stress test, you need to stand still for a couple of seconds and then lie down for minutes with the monitors in place. It is because your doctor can check any problem as your breathing and heart rate return to normal. Thus, you may get back to your normal activities when your stress test is done unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Stress Test without Exercise
So, if you can’t do exercise, your doctor may use some medication to begin the test process. In that case, he will attach the electrodes to your chest and will deliver the medicine into your arm through an IV line. In addition to this, the process takes about 10-15 minutes so that medication will stimulate your heart. Also, it may have some side effects, such as shortness of breath and flushing.
Purpose – Why Treadmill Stress Test is done?
The purpose of the treadmill stress test taken by the doctor is to:
- So, if you have already been diagnosed with heart disease, an exercise stress test helps your doctor to check if your current treatment is working or not. However, the results of the tests also help your doctor determine the best medication for you.
- The coronary arteries are the major blood vessels that supply oxygen, blood, and nutrients to your heart. So, this disease develops when the arteries become diseased or damaged. Moreover, this disease usually happens because of the buildup of deposits having cholesterol and other plaques.
- Also, your doctor may use an exercise stress test to determine you can have surgery safely. It can be any surgery, such as a heart transplant and valve replacement.
- So, heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) occur when the electrical signals that regulate your heartbeat do not work well. Moreover, an arrhythmia disease can cause your heart to beat too slow, too fast, or irregular.
Preparation for Stress Test
So, on the day of the stress test, make sure to dress comfortably. Something that is breathable and light would be the best fit. Also, don’t forget to wear comfy shoes like an athletic sneaker. And, don’t worry! Your instructor will give you a complete guide about how to prepare. These guidelines may include the following:
- Stop having certain medicines.
- Avoid eating and drinking, and smoking caffeinated beverages for at least three hours before the test.
- You can report any complications or chest pain if you observe it on the stress test day.
NOTE: you should only stop taking medicines if your doctor prescribed you to do so.
Risks of Treadmill Stress Test
By the way, an exercise stress test is usually safe, specifically when it is done under a supervision of a medical professional in a controlled environment. Thus, the complications are infrequent. But still, the possible complications of a stress test are as follows:
- Lower blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
However, your risk of encountering above mentioned complications during the test is very low. It is because your doctor has already screened you for the problems. Despite this, people who somehow run the risk of such complications are those who already have advanced coronary heart disease.
Conclusion – What might the results show?
So, if the information collected during your stress test shows your heart function well, there is no need for any further tests. However, it is concluded with some of the possible results of the treadmill stress test, which include the following:
- Normal blood flow while resting and exercise
- Lower blood flow when resting and exercising suggests coronary artery disease
- Normal blood flow while resting but not during exercising suggests indicating a blocked artery
However, if the treadmill stress test results raise no complications and concerns, you don’t need any further tests. Also, if you had an exercise stress test to determine the condition of your heart, your doctor will use the results to change or plan your medication.