How do you take care of your heart after 40?
As you find yourself hitting 40, you may start thinking about health issues you previously didn’t concern yourself with. Should heart health be one of them?
It is possible that some people with heart conditions can have no symptoms unless they are physically active. An echo stress test helps a doctor fully understand the condition of your heart and how it operates, both under resting conditions and under stress. Like other cardiac stress tests, an echo stress test will determine:
Do not eat or drink anything for at least two hours prior to your echo stress test. Check with your physician to determine if any of your medications should be avoided for the days leading up to your scheduled test. Make sure to bring all of your medications, as well as any herbal or dietary supplements and over-the-counter medications, to the test with you. Your physician can give you special instructions for necessary medications.
Avoid caffeine for at least 24 hours prior to your echo stress test. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes to your test, and avoid using lotion, oil, perfume or powder on your chest beforehand.
You will be asked to remove clothing above your waist. Small patches will be placed on your chest, which record your heart rate. A technician uses an ultrasound probe to take pictures while your heart is at rest. The technician will also take the same pictures immediately after reaching your peak exercise level. An exercise physiologist will continue monitoring your heart rate and electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) for about 10 minutes.
If you’re unable to exercise, you’ll be given a similar test using a medicine called dobutamine, which simulates exercise by making your heart beat faster.
You will likely feel a bit tired after the test. Most people can return to their normal activities after this test, but your physician may give you other directions based on your medical condition. A cardiologist will review the results of your test and send a full report to your physician.