stress test

What Not To Do Before A Stress Test

Your stress test is approaching, and perhaps you’re unsure of what not to do before a stress test. Understanding what not to do before a stress test is equally as vital as understanding what you should do. If you have symptoms of cardiac problems or anomalies, your doctor will most likely do a stress test.

So, here are some things you should avoid before a stress test. Steer clear of caffeine-containing drinks 12 hours before a stress test. Avoid taking certain heart medications such as isosorbide dinitrate and nitroglycerin on the day of the stress test. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Furthermore, do not eat for four hours before a stress test.

A stress test demonstrates how your heart works during physical exertion. There are different kinds of stress tests. The exercise stress test is considered the most frequent implemented stress test. And it’s often known as an exercise electrocardiogram. Typically, you run on a treadmill while your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. Exercise can reveal heart abnormalities, such as heart disease and arrhythmia.

Even though a stress test involves only simple blood pressure and heart rate monitoring, you may be wondering what not to do before a stress test. Should you eat something? What medications should you avoid? Will certain foods affect the results? For this reason, we’ve put together a list of what not to do before a stress test.

Tips on What Not to Do Before a Stress Test

Avoid Caffeinated Items 

It is recommended that you do not take any caffeinated drinks on the day of your stress test or the day prior. Coffee, tea, and foods containing chocolate and cocoa are examples of food to avoid. Avoid any caffeinated beverages as well. This includes caffeine-containing medications such as Excerdrine, Anacin, Midol, and Fiorinal. Please keep in mind that some decaffeinated products contain caffeine, so always double-check.

This is because caffeine alters how your body performs. Even minor adjustments can affect your test results. In fact, caffeine is known to accelerate your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. Because they collect data from these two aspects, they can impact the accuracy of your results.

Moreover, if you have a history of heart problems, it’s best to stay away from coffee completely. Also, if you enjoy caffeine, don’t drink any one the same day you go for your stress test. Always check the label if you are unsure whether an item includes caffeine.

Do Not Eat or Drink

When you eat anything, your body releases enzymes to help break things down. As a result, doing so before a stress test can alter the results and render the test invalid.

Consult your cardiologist first if you are diabetic or have another medical condition that necessitates eating at regular intervals. The doctors need to ensure that you are healthy during a stress test.

drinking coffee

Don’t Take Certain Medication

This may appear unusual, but it is vital to consult with your doctor before your test so that you have clear instructions on which medications you cannot take. While the internet is full of advice on which medications you should avoid, it is always best to speak with a cardiologist directly. Because the more accurate and reliable the information, the safer it is.

Other Things to Avoid

Drinking alcohol is another thing you should avoid doing before a stress test. Research has shown the consumption of alcohol can cause changes in the way your heart beats. It may also cause a short-term increase in blood pressure. 

You do not want this to happen during or before a stress test. Because these are monitored during a stress test, it may affect the accuracy of the results.

There are no clear rules on what clothes you should not wear. Avoid wearing any shirts with metallic embellishments to be on the safe side. This ornamentation may affect EKG machines.

In addition, you should not smoke for 24 hours before your stress test. According to research, smoking increases your heart rate and could result in an irregular heart rhythm. Smoking also promotes a rise in blood pressure. As previously stated, all of these factors can have an adverse effect on your results.

The Bottom Line

Stress tests do not have to be nerve-racking. Knowing what not to do before a stress test is the best way to ensure an accurate test. It’s always best to consult with a cardiologist and follow their professional medical advice.

Let your cardiologist know if you do mistakenly eat or drink something that you are not supposed to. You can always reschedule your test. 

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