What To Expect When You Get a Stress Test
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What To Expect When You Get a Stress Test

What to expect when you get a stress test. My experience getting a stress test.

I recently had a stress test.  The night before I was all worried about it and couldn't sleep, but I am here to tell you it is really not so bad at all. 

Getting Prepared for a Stress Test

The only real preparation you will need to do before a stress test is not to eat for so many hours before you take it.  For me I could not eat past midnight the night before, so that meant no breakfast for me either.  The appointment started at 7:45 AM though so at least it was early.  You also can not wear any powders or lotions before the test.  I did find out I could have worn deodorant but I had not because I thought that was included in the no lotion and powder deal.  Other than than you don't have to do any other prep.

When I went in I had an IV placed in my arm that would release some fluids in to my body that would help things get picked up by the machine.  I was then sent in to a waiting room with a TV to wait for a half hour while it went through my body.  There was another lady in there too that was having a stress test as well, hers was right before me.  We chatted for about 15 minutes then they took her in, so I read until they came and got me.  They placed several little electrode type things on my body in certain areas.  I was allowed to leave my bra on which was a pleasant surprise. 

I was then told to lie down on this table.  I was to put my right arm down and lift my left arm and hold on to something the whole time. While I laid there this big camera thing went around my chest area taking a picture every few seconds or so as it went.  It move then take a picture, and them move a few inches, then take another one, and so on, and so on.  I had a comfortable pillow to lay my head on and even one under my knees so except for having to hold my left arm in one position for so long I was pretty comfortable.  There was a radio playing in the background so I just kind of closed my eyes and listened to that.  After that I got off of the table and was sent back to the waiting room where there were cereal bars and juice boxes waiting for me.  I was told to eat and drink and they would be back for me in a half hour. 

The other lady was in there again and we chatted until they came and took her away again.   She was really nervous about the treadmill part of the test which she was about to go take.  I read a little while I waited and then they came and got me. 

It was now time for me to get on to the treadmill.  First they put those little electrode things on me again.  They explained that they wanted me to reach a certain point of respiration.  I was told it would start out really slow and flat and then gradually they would increase the speed and incline.  I was told that if I felt I could not go any longer then I should tell them I have one minute left in me because they need one minute to slow everything down.  I was told I would not be taken past the point where I could not handle it and to just let them know how I felt. 

The treadmill started out really slow, almost agonizingly slow, but I walk a lot so I am not in bad shape or anything like that.  Then they sped it up a bit and felt much better to me.  They then asked if I was ready for me and I said yes.  It started to get a little more challenging but nothing I couldn't handle although I think some people might have been challenged at that point.  I went up one more time and then I reached the point that they wanted me to reach and they gradually lowered the incline and slowed it down.  I felt perfectly fine and actually pretty proud of myself for handling it so well.  Even the nurse was impressed. My daily walks really paid off in this case.  

I was then sent back out to the waiting room again.  I chatted with the lady again and she was not so thrilled about the treadmill part.  She didn't like it at all, but she said they did allow her to slow down when she told them too.  Then she was whisked off again and that was the last I saw of her and she was probably sent home while I was doing my last phase. 

After the half hour was up I went back and laid on the same table as before and pictures were taken just as they had been taken before.  It was exactly the same as the first time, so I just relaxed and let it happen. 

I was then told that I was all done and I was free to go. 

That was the whole test.  I was done about lunch time so I took myself out for lunch. 

It really was not that big of a deal.  I was there for a long time but there was really nothing to be scared about.  Had I known it would be that easy I probably would have slept a lot better the night before.  It was also nice to have someone to talk to in the waiting room.  My tests showed no problems, I hope that the nice lady I talked to had similar results.

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Comments (3)

First hand experience helps those who have not undergone this stress test. Well done.Promoted since I am out of votes.

Thoughtful one Rae, many thanks.

The stress test is designed to give immediate scientific and observable feedback to the doctor performing the test. Doctors love numbers and statistics. The stress test allows them to accurately gauge fitness progress (when their patient begins a fitness routine) by following up at a later date usually 6 months or a year after the commencement of exercise. Obviously it also identifies current health issues and concerns too. I'm glad your results were good and that you took the time to let others know that a stress test really is okay and not that big of a deal to do! Thank you for your article :)