If you’re experiencing symptoms that could point to a heart problem, your doctor may have ordered one or more of the many cardiovascular tests available to help them understand your needs. But why are cardiovascular tests so important, why are there so many of them, and what can they begin to tell your doctor about your heart?
Dr. Steven Caridi and the rest of our team at Hamptons Medical Associates in Boca Raton, Florida, want you to understand the importance of cardiovascular testing as well as what exactly is being tested.
Cardiovascular testing: What is it and what does it include?
According to the National Institutes of Health, cardiovascular tests are also called cardiac diagnostic tests and heart health tests. These blanket terms include a number of tests, such as:
This is a test that’s performed when your doctor places a catheter into a blood vessel and threads it into your heart. It can be used to do an angiography, to take samples of your blood or the muscle of your heart, or to perform procedures like angioplasty or minor heart surgery.
Cardiac MRIs and CT scans
These are both imaging tests that are used to see what’s happening inside your heart. The CT scan uses X-rays and a contrast dye injection to detect the potential for heart problems like calcium buildup, pericardial disease, coronary artery disease, and others. The MRI uses radio waves and magnets to detect similar problems as well as cardiac tumors and potential damage caused by a heart attack.
Electrocardiogram (EKG) and stress testing
An electrocardiogram records the electrical activity inside your heart. It can help detect an irregular heartbeat. Sometimes, you may be given an EKG while lying on a table, but other times, stress testing is involved.
A stress test tells your doctor how well your heart works when you’re placed under physical stress. It usually involves exercising to make your heart beat faster. You’re hooked up to an EKG while performing the stress test to see how your heart reacts.
We offer echocardiogram testing in our office. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce pictures of the heart. The pictures move, showing how your heart moves. It helps your doctor see if you have any problems with the size, shape, and movements of your heart, some of which may be heart defects you had at birth. But it can also determine whether problems with your heart could be causing symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pains.
Why cardiovascular testing is so important
As shown, there are different heart health tests, but it’s important to remember that these tests have little to no risk involved and are highly beneficial for allowing your doctor to understand how your heart is working.
According to Harvard Medical School, the heart beats an average of 2.5 billion times over the average person’s lifetime, which is a serious amount of work. Understanding what’s happening inside your heart, whether it’s working properly, and what needs to be done to maintain this level of work is essential to wellness and health.
Want to learn more about cardiovascular testing?
If you’d like to make an appointment with Dr. Caridi, call our Boca Raton office today or use the online tool. We look forward to helping you maintain the health of your hard-working heart.