No need to “stress” about getting a nuclear stress test. Your heart health is extremely important. If your heart isn’t functioning properly, not only does your quality of life suffer, your life itself becomes at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, about 610,000 people die of heart disease (also known as cardiovascular disease) every year. This means one in every four deaths are due to heart disease. Early action is crucial for preventing death due to heart related problems, most commonly a heart attack. Proper diagnosis can be made through tests such as a nuclear stress test, to find any signs of heart disease so your healthcare provider can offer the best treatment for you.
Your heart is healthy when your heart rate and blood flow are able to provide cells throughout the body with essential oxygen and nutrients, creating oxygen-rich blood, which is able to circulate this blood to and from the heart. While your heart may appear to be functioning fine and normal, people often take their health for granted when they don’t experience any palpable symptoms. But at a certain age, along with certain risk factors that might predispose you to an elevated risk for heart disease, getting properly screened is very important.
Your heart may be beating normally, and your circulatory system could look like any other. Then, when a person engages in physical activity and they exert themselves, heart rate and blood flow increase in order to compensate, to provide the body with good blood flowing to and away from the heart. Therefore, the heart continues to beat faster and faster depending on a person’s activity level, or body. If for any reason your heart cannot pump and circulate blood in and out of your heart properly, you are more at risk for a heart attack or stroke. For this reason, doctors sometimes suggest a nuclear stress test, where they can monitor the blood flow in the heart, when your heart is both at rest and after any activity or exercise.
What is A Nuclear Stress Test?
If your family has a history of heart problems, you are more at risk. If you believe something with your heart may be wrong, don’t hesitate to get it checked out by your doctor immediately, as early detection can help save your life.
Symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pains, and abnormal heart beat, are usually signs of a heart condition, such as arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, buildup of plaque, etc. A nuclear cardiac stress test is performed to evaluate a person’s heart, specifically the blood flow, size, and shape. This type of cardiovascular test helps diagnose heart conditions, giving the doctor an inside look at a patient’s heart to see if there is any damage to the heart’s arteries, if the heart is enlarged, or if there is any blockage or plaque buildup. For example, if a patient is diagnosed with an abnormal heart beat called arrhythmia, a nuclear stress test can help the doctor make these accurate diagnoses, and measure how well the heart is pumping blood, and how well a treatment may be working based of the results.
During a nuclear stress test, patients have two sets of images taken of their heart, to get a better perspective and inside view. The first is taken while your heart and body is at rest, and the other after you have exerted yourself by exercising, usually on a treadmill or stationary bike. During this test, a radioactive dye is injected into the bloodstream, allowing it to go into the heart. A scanner detects the radioactive dye, and takes these pictures of the heart. Visible light spots are present on the images, which shows that not enough of the radioactive dye injected into the bloodstream reached the heart, which can indicate that the patient’s heart has abnormal or inadequate blood flow. The heart being unable to adequately pump and circulate blood can cause a number of heart conditions, most commonly a heart attack, stroke, and even death, if untreated. A nuclear stress test is the gateway for saving your life, as many heart issues are often left undetected, or worse, misdiagnosed.
At SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation, LLC, we highly believe that healing is a process that begins with an accurate diagnosis and that advanced treatment starts with the right diagnostics. We proudly offer several onsite comprehensive diagnostic services to help guide your care, such as this nuclear cardiac stress testing.
To learn more about nuclear cardiac stress testing, and how this quick and convenient method of diagnostic imaging testing can save your life, call our office at (803) 749-1111 or request an appointment online.