What is TMT ?
An exercise stress test is used to determine how well your heart responds during times when it’s working its hardest.
During the test, you’ll be asked to exercise — typically on a treadmill — while you’re hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine. This allows your doctor to monitor your heart rate.
The exercise stress test is also referred to as an exercise test or treadmill test.
Why do an exercise stress test?
An exercise stress test is primarily used to help your doctor determine if your heart receives enough oxygen and proper blood flow when it needs it most, such as when you are exercising.
It can be ordered for people who have been experiencing chest pains or other symptoms of coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease).
An exercise stress test may also be used to help determine your level of health, especially if you are starting a new exercise program. This allows your doctor to learn what level of exercise you can safely handle.
If you are a smoker over 40 years old, or if you have other risk factors for heart disease, you should talk to your doctor to see if an exercise stress test is right for you.
The risks of an exercise stress test
Stress tests are generally considered safe, especially since they’re done in a controlled environment under the supervision of a trained medical professional.
However, there are some rare risks, such as:
- chest pain
- heart attack
- irregular heartbeat
However, your risk of experiencing these reactions during the test is low, since your doctor will screen you for problems beforehand. People who are at higher risk of these complications — such as those with advanced coronary heart disease — are rarely asked to do the test.
How to prepare for an exercise stress test
Prior to your test, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your complete medical history. At this point, tell your doctor about your symptoms, especially any chest pains or shortness of breath.
You should also tell your doctor about any conditions or symptoms that may make exercising difficult, such as stiff joints from arthritis.
Finally, let your doctor know if you have diabetes because exercise affects blood sugar. If you do have diabetes, your doctor may want to monitor your blood glucose levels during the exercise test as well.
Your doctor will give you complete instructions about how to prepare.
Food and medications
Your doctor may instruct you to avoid eating or drinking caffeinated beverages for 3 hours before the test. You should also avoid smoking.
You should only stop taking medications before the test if your doctor tells you to do so.
Clothing and personal items
On the day of the test, be sure to dress in loose, comfortable clothing. Something that is light and breathable is best.
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, such as sneakers.