In America, 2200 people die each day from heart-related problems. That equates to 800,000 people each year – a frightening statistic. Twice as many people suffer from strokes or heart attacks every year, so this is certainly not a problem to be taken lightly.
There are numerous tests you can undergo to determine what problems you have and the course of treatment. Read on to discover a few of the more common tests.
The first one is an exercise stress test (also called an exercise ECG.) You have an ultrasound and other readings before physically doing anything. Then you walk on a treadmill while being attached to various machines that measure your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. The doctors push you as hard as you can go, and then check your readings again to see just how much they have increased.
This test helps determine if you have a coronary heart disease and then doctors can discuss a manageable treatment and exercise plan. This test also helps doctors decide how much you can handle after you have had a heart attack because you have to slowly build your fitness level again.
An Echocardiogram (also called an echo) uses waves of sound to test the heart’s valves and chambers. The ultrasound is slowly running across the heart, creating an image on a monitor for the doctor to see.
A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) nuclear scan allows the doctor to see how good the blood flow is through the coronary arteries to your heart.
An Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) measures the heart’s electrical activity and shows any abnormal rhythms. It may also reveal damage to the heart muscle.
Sometimes a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test is conducted. This test can show whether there’s damage to the heart’s vessels and valves. It can detect whether there are tumors, congenital defects or other abnormalities present. The MRI is often used before other procedures including vascular or cardiac surgery or an angioplasty procedure to ensure accuracy.
An angioplasty is a surgical procedure carried out when an artery in your heart has become partly blocked. A balloon is inserted into your artery to inflate it again. Then a stent (mesh tube) is placed into it to keep the artery open indefinitely. The artery wall surrounds the stent as it heals but it doesn’t close again because the stent prevents that from happening.
If your heart beats irregularly or slower than normal, you may need a pacemaker. This is a round device that’s inserted into your chest to make your heart beat regularly.
These are just a few of the more common tests and procedures that you may face if you have heart problems. Today’s modern technology means that most problems can be treated if caught early enough. Never take risks with your health because you never know what can happen.