If you’ve experienced chest pain and are concerned about your heart, a stress test helps to diagnose cardiovascular conditions by monitoring your heart function and blood pressure while your body is working hard. Pankaj Lal, MD, offers stress tests at Capital Cardiac Care in Gaithersburg, Maryland to monitor your heart and cardiovascular health and diagnose any conditions that put your well-being at risk. Results are delivered quickly so Dr. Lal can begin treatment as soon as possible. Call or schedule an appointment online today.

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What is a stress test?

A stress test painlessly measures how efficiently your heart works when it’s under stress or working hard. Dr. Lal attaches electrodes to your body to monitor your heart function while you walk on a treadmill. The test shows Dr. Lal if enough blood is reaching your heart and can help him diagnose a variety of cardiovascular conditions.

Why would I need a stress test?

Dr. Lal uses stress tests to monitor your heart function. The test helps him:

  • Identify an irregular heartbeat
  • Measure blood flow to and from the heart
  • Check that your heart valves are working correctly
  • Diagnose the cause of palpitations or chest pain
  • Check that medications and other treatments are working

What happens during a stress test?

Dr. Lal attaches electrocardiogram electrodes to your chest to monitor your heart activity. Then you start walking on a treadmill. The pace and incline increase to make your heart work harder. Dr. Lal may ask you to breathe into a tube to gather information about your lung function. Once you reach a certain heart rate, you stop the treadmill and sit down for Dr. Lal to check your blood pressure and your heart.

During the stress test, Dr. Lal monitors your:

  • Heart rate and function
  • Breathing and lung function
  • Blood pressure
  • Fatigue

These factors help him diagnose heart and cardiovascular issues. If you’re unable to walk on a treadmill, Dr. Lal can give you medication that makes your heart feel like it’s under stress.

What is a nuclear stress test?

A nuclear stress test is more or less the same as a treadmill stress test, except Dr. Lal injects a small amount of a radioactive substance into your bloodstream. This substance is tracked as it moves through your body using a special gamma camera, which captures images of your heart in action. This test helps Dr. Lal understand how your blood moves through your heart and blood vessels.

How should I prepare for a stress test?

Dr. Lal provides specific instructions on fasting or not smoking for a certain amount of time before your stress test. In general, you should wear comfortable clothing and shoes since you’ll be walking on a treadmill quickly enough to increase your heart rate.

If you live in Montgomery County and you’re concerned about your cardiovascular health, call or use the online booking tool to schedule a stress test with Dr. Lal.