An electrocardiogram, more commonly known as an EKG, is a noninvasive way to diagnose heart disease and problems. If heart disease runs in your family, a doctor may recommend an EKG as an early screening test, even if you aren't currently experiencing symptoms of heart disease. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, your doctor may use an electrocardiogram:
- An irregular heart beat
- Blocked or narrowed arteries in your heart
- Structural issues with your heart's chambers
- A heart attack in the past
- Are currently undergoing heart disease treatments
Because EKGs are safe to receive, they can be hugely beneficial. When an EKG is administered on someone walking or jogging on a treadmill, it is called a stress test. If your doctor wants to give you an EKG, you should let him or her know about any medications or supplements you are taking as some prescriptions can affect the results.
During the electrocardiogram procedure, electrodes — sticky patches applied with gel or tape — will be placed on your arms, legs and chest. Up to 15 electrodes may be used per EKG. These sticky patches help detect the electrical currents of the heart. While the test is taking place, you are able to breathe normally.
Once the test is done, your doctor will check the results for an even heart rhythm and a heart rate between 50 and 100 beats each minute. A heightened or slowed heart rate may indicate structural abnormalities, inadequate blood/oxygen flow to the heart or risks of a heart attack. If the test comes back with irregularities, your doctor may recommend additional tests to determine whether treatment is needed.
If you are suffering from symptoms of heart disease, consider getting checked by a medical professional at your local CareNow. At CareNow, we have 28 locations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex (with more opening soon!), along with locations in Las Vegas, Denver, Nashville, and Kansas City. Visit CareNow.com for a complete list of locations near you.
Disclaimer: Patients' health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.