A stress test is an evaluation that checks how hard the heart is working during physical activity. During exercise, the heart has to work harder to pump blood. A stress test can show if a person has any problems with blood flow. Typically, the evaluation will involve walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. The doctor will monitor the patient’s heart rhythm, blood pressure, and breathing to evaluate cardiovascular health.
Why did my doctor order a stress test?
The test may be recommended if a person has any signs of coronary artery disease. A stress test can also check for an irregular heartbeat. If a person already has a heart condition, the doctor may want a person to get a stress test as a guide for the treatment plan. Whatever reason the doctor orders a stress test, some general tips for heart health can help improve a person’s quality of life.
1. Know your numbers
Awareness is one of the most crucial parts of improving heart health. Certain health markers, like blood pressure and cholesterol, are important indicators of a person’s heart health. Typically, total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL. Blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mm Hg. If either cholesterol or blood pressure is high, a doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or medication to get those numbers under control.
2. Don’t ignore rest
A good night’s sleep is an often-overlooked part of cardiovascular health. In one study, adults who got more than 7 hours of sleep every night had less calcium buildup in the arteries than those who slept less than 5 hours or over 9 hours. The quality of sleep also affected a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition to a good night’s rest, keeping stress low is crucial for managing blood pressure and lowering heart disease risk.
3. Move more
Most people know that exercise is good for heart health. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, swimming, or biking, per week. However, people should also pay attention to overall sedentary time. While 30 minutes of exercise daily can make a difference, those 23.5 sedentary hours aren’t necessarily good for heart health. Try to get up and walk around once every hour and incorporate more standing time into a daily routine.
Improve your heart health today
One of the most important steps to take in maintaining good heart health is scheduling regular doctor visits. A healthcare provider can check a patient’s vital numbers and screen for any risk of heart disease. People who are concerned about heart health should schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider.