Fear Not: Every Day People Decide to Delay or Skip Important Health Screenings Because They are Apprehensive

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: July 31, 2015

Porter-frontHere, Porter’s professionals take a look at three diagnostic tests and help calm your fears, because taking these tests could save your life. The first is a Stress Test.

Most of the fear comes from the unknown. Why am I having the test? What is involved? How do I prepare?

Why You Need It

An exercise stress test helps see how your heart works during physical activity. Because your heart will pump harder and faster than usual during the test, problems that might not be noticeable otherwise can be seen. “An exercise stress test is typically recommended if your physician suspects you have coronary artery disease. It can also help your doctor determine how well your treatment is working if you’ve already been diagnosed with a heart condition,” said Cardiologist Jay Shah, M.D.

What to Expect

A stress test usually involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. Electrodes will be placed on your chest, arms and legs. These are connected to an EKG (electrocardiogram) machine to show your heart rate, rhythm and electrical activity. A blood pressure cuff will be on your arm to check your blood pressure. “You will be asked to push yourself as hard as possible,” explained Dr. Shah. He added that the “stress” part of a stress test usually lasts about 15 minutes or less.

Good to Know

If you are concerned about not being able to handle the physical aspect of it, just remember, the physician, nurse or technician will be in the room with you at all times. You can let them know how you’re feeling. Dr. Shah said patients are instructed to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes for their test and, if you use an inhaler, you should make sure to bring it.

Dr. Jay Shah is a member of the medical staff at Porter Regional Hospital. He is a Board Certified Diplomate in Adult Comprehensive Echocardiography, as well as Board Certified in Cardiovascular Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology, and Internal Medicine. Dr. Shah is the Director of Cardiology for the Heart Valve Center as well as the Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation for Porter. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Shah at Northwest Indiana Cardiovascular Physicians, call 219-531-9419.

Click here to read more from Porter's Summer 2015 StayHealthy magazine!