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Combat heart disease with a stress test

Photo source: WEAR-TV

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Channel 3's Lauren Wolfe showed us one way to find out how fit your heart is with a standard exercise stress test.

"What I'm going to do is put your information in the machine and figure out what your target heart rate is," said Marsha Fish, Cardiac Technician for Baptist Health System.

Lauren factored in her age and size. Her target heart rate was 167.

"And then I'm going to prep you. I've gotten patches to put on you, a blood pressure cuff so we can monitor your heart throughout the test, it takes your blood pressure every couple of minutes," said Fish.

At first the treadmill starts out slow, then increases speed every three minutes until the target heart rate is reached.

Doctors say this is a standard test to make sure your heart is working well.

"We usually say if you feel anything different from when you walked in here you need to tell us what it is," said Fish.

Patients who need to consider this test often show signs of discomfort and the symptoms are monitored throughout the test.

"Common symptoms that a patient may have include chest pain, pressure or discomfort," said Pelbreton Balfour Jr., Cardiologist.

He also told WEAR's Lauren Wolfe that patients might even have that pain radiate to their shoulders, neck or jaw. If heart disease or other conditions run in your family. Those factors are also considered throughout the test.

"We know that in the united states close to 50 percent of Americans have at least one major risk factor for heart disease." said Balfour.

These factors to consider are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tobacco use.

Doctors tell us that it's important to know your body and what it's telling you.

Lauren's results were observed as normal, but for anyone who feels pain or discomfort during your daily routine - then this test could help you. Doctors say depending on the person, other tests are considered.

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