Treadmill Basics

Treadmill Stress Test

A treadmill stress test, otherwise known simply as a stress test is performed to measure the activity level of the heart during exercise as compared to when it is in a state of rest. This test requires that a patient’s vital signs relating to the heart be monitored during exercise on a treadmill.

When we exercise, our body draws in more oxygen than it does than when it is at a state of rest. The heart needs to pump in more oxygenated blood during exercise. The increase in cardiovascular activity during exercise reveals problems that may not be noticeable otherwise.

Of course, there are limitations of a stress test. A stress test can reveal only major coronary blockages. However, a stress test is an ideal way to test coronary blockages in a noninvasive way.

Such a stress test is recommended by cardiologists in case the patient shows symptoms of coronary artery disease or is otherwise at risk of developing this disease. If a patient complains of fatigue or breathlessness during physical exertion, this test helps to determine if the fatigue is on account of coronary artery disease.

The patient is advised to wear loose and comfortable clothing and should perform the test on an empty stomach, without eating or drinking anything up to three hours before taking the test.

In order to perform this test, the patients’ heart rate and blood pressure are measured during a state of rest. Electrodes are then attached to the patient’s chest to monitor heart activity during physical exercise. The patient then starts exercising on the treadmill at a slow speed. The patient then passes through a certain number of phases each of which begins with an increase of speed of the treadmill and an increase in the incline.

The results of the test are then compared with the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure that were recorded before the test was administered.