Tests for Your Heart (Heart Health)
If you have heart disease, or think you do, it’s vital to take action to protect your health. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do. In most cases, the first step is to get tested to find out if you have heart disease and, if so, how severe your condition is. Ask your doctor which of the following tests are right for you.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) makes a graph of the heart’s electrical activity. This test can show abnormal heartbeats, heart muscle damage, blood flow problems in the arteries, and heart enlargement.
Stress test (or treadmill test or exercise ECG) records the heart’s electrical activity during exercise. If you are unable to exercise, you can take a medicine instead that shows any problems in the blood flow to the heart.
Nuclear scan (or thallium stress test) shows the working of the heart muscle. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein, and a camera records how much is taken up by the heart muscle.
Echocardiography changes sound waves into pictures that show the heart’s size, shape, and movement. The sound waves also can be used to see how much blood is pumped out by the heart when it contracts.
Coronary angiography (or angiogram or arteriography) shows an X-ray of blood flow problems and blockages in the coronary arteries. A thin tube, or catheter, is threaded into the heart. A fluid is then injected into the tube, allowing the heart and blood vessels to be filmed.
Caring for your heart is worth the effort. Use the information here to take charge of your heart health â€” start today!