According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 600,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women. Noting this, medical professionals often suggest that their aging patients or at-risk patients take an electrocardiogram, or EKG, test to check for signs of heart disease.
EKG tests are non-invasive, painless, safe and fast, and they help our doctors check things like heart rhythm and blood flow as well as diagnose previous heart attacks or anything else that seems abnormal. In the best case scenario, the EKG test confirms good heart health. However, if we see something abnormal, we will likely send you for further testing to get an idea of how to best treat or manage the issue.
How does an EKG test work?
The standard EKG test consists of a doctor attaching 10 or more electrodes in the areas of your chest, arms, and legs – the key places where major arteries exist. You’ll then likely start by lying flat while a computer records your heart rhythm. Aside from this “resting” EKG, your doctor may also have you exercise to get an idea of how your heart works under activity. This typically consists of a doctor monitoring your heart as you jog on a treadmill. In most cases, the EKG test lasts less than 20 minutes and quickly helps give the doctor a better understanding of your heart health.
Eating right and getting plenty of exercises is crucial to maintaining good heart health, but EKG tests are an ideal way to either verify heart health or address small issues before they become big ones. It’s why they’re often a part of a physical exam for aging men and women.