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Electrocardiogram in fitness: Fast heart rate

ECG Heart Test

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a type of test which determines the electrical activity in the heart. The heart is a muscle which pumps the blood into organs, other muscles, and tissue. A sinoatrial node is the heart’s pacemaker which makes it contract. The ECG identifies and records the electrical impulses which characterize the heart’s beating. If there are any disturbances in the heart’s rhythm, they will be caught by the ECG. Abnormal pumping is usually a sign of a heart condition. In addition to being used for diagnostic purposes, ECG is often employed in determining how well a patient is reacting to medications or another form of therapy. There are various symptoms for which individuals are advised to have an ECG. For instance, anyone who can feel their own heart beat should seek medical attention. Also, persons who are suffering from chest pain and breathing problems are usually sent to get an ECG test. If there are any anomalies in the coronary arteries they will show in the ECG. On the other hand, if the ECG is performed while an individual is not moving there is a strong possibility that the test will not detect any narrowing of the arteries even if it is in fact present. Subsequently, if a medical care professional wants to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of narrow arteries, the patient needs to be tested while in motion, or preferably exercising. In addition, once the individual is prescribed medications for coronary artery problems the results are observed through another ECG test. Also, the test is utilized in discovering any missed or previous heart attacks. In persons who have been battling high blood pressure for a long time it is possible that the heart starts to thicken, which can also be observed through ECG. It should be noted that there are instances in which an ECG yields normal results and misses an underlying heart condition. Therefore, other diagnostic criteria should be used following an ECG for assessing heart problems. For instance, a radioisotope perfusion scan is one of the additional heart tests that is usually coupled with an ECG. The radioisotope perfusion test is performed using a low dosage radioactive dye which reveals the areas of the heart with the most and the least blood supply. X-rays of the arteries are also sometimes performed in order to come up with a precise diagnosis. When it comes to the characteristics of the ECG testing they depend on why the test is being performed in the first place. In most cases the test is taken while the individual is motionless unless the coronary artery disease is suspected. In such an instance the patient is usually asked to run on a treadmill for the purposes of testing. Anywhere between a few to up to 12 adhesive electrodes are places on the person’s chest, legs, and arms during the course of an ECG. Some of the areas, such as the chest for instance, need to be hairless and cleaned before the test can begin. No sensation is felt during the test and it only takes a few minutes. The results are displayed on a paper print out. Usually there are no side effects associated with an ECG test, but an individual with a more serious underlying heart condition may experience chest pain after having stopped running on a treadmill. If it happens that the person’s blood pressure drops or the chest pains are strong while still running, the test will be stopped.

Fitness and ECG

Other than being used for diagnosing heart problems, an exercise ECG is used to monitor changes in the heart while an individual is exercising to determine the level of fitness. Aside from running on a treadmill the person being testing could also be pedaling on a stationary bicycle. In order to determine either the level of fitness or to discover a heart condition, the resting ECG is always performed before the exercise ECG and the results are then compared. If the resting ECG reveals a serious heart problem, the exercise ECG may not even be performed for the safety reasons. In addition, the test is often administered in order to determine how is someone who has had a heart attack able to tolerate exercise and to what extent they can be involved in work outs. For individuals who exercise regularly but experience dizziness, fast heart beats, or fainting, the ECG can be very useful in finding out why such occurrences take place. For those who have been inactive for a long period of time the ECG can help determine an appropriate exercise program. The exercise ECG is usually done in a hospital, at a clinic, or in a doctor’s office by a qualified medical practitioner. Once the results are available they are evaluated by a cardiologist, an internist, or the primary health care provider.

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