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Tests to determine heart status - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 37 Questions
User :   Hi - I'm a 55 year old male, overweight, sedentary, desk job. I don't have chest pains, but for the past couple of years climbing out of the New York City subway (or climbing upstairs to an elevated train) will often leave me gasping for breath -- the sensation of breathlessness can be so acute, that it sends me spinning into a panic attack (I've had those for about 12 years, relating to claustrophobia, usually on crowded subways, in cars, in planes). I just had an electrocardiagram, results pending, but I was so terrified of having a heart attack on the treadmill test -- I've never been on a treadmill, and have vertigo and motion sickness -- that I could barely take 2 or 3 steps on the treadmill once "the ground" underneath me started moving and the test was aborted. Also, my blood pressure soared just from going for this test -- I don't want to know what it was after the aborted treadmill. Sorry for being so long-winded (though short of breath) -- my question how do I continue going for tests, if deemed necessary, when I'm convinced that tests such as the treadmill tests and tests where drugs speed up the heart are designed to induce heart attacks? Aren't there totally non-dangerous ways to test for heart disease? How did doctors test for heart disease before they sped up the heart for these tests? - Thanks for your time. - XXXXXXXX
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   Let me read the query.
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Let me explain to you.
User :   Hi, Doctor, I'm here ...
Doctor :   Breathlessness following a task is referred to as exertional breathlessness.
Doctor :   And this exertional breathlessness when it occurs to a task that you were accustomed to indicates that there is weakness in the heart and that the heart is not functioning to its full extent.
Doctor :   It does not necessarily indicate that you have an heart attack now,
Doctor :   but it definitely indicate that the blood circulation to the heart is compromised.
Doctor :   With this small information, I shall continue to answer your questions.
Doctor :   There are many modalities of evaluating the status of the heart.
Doctor :   The different test that are designed to do so are
Doctor :   EKG, thread mill test, echocardiogram and angiograms.
User :   Couldn't there be other causes for the breathlessness besides a heart problem? Why didn't my doctor suggest that first I lose 50 lbs and then see if the breathlessness isn't a problem anymore?
Doctor :   People who have high fat in their body are very prone to have heart problems.
Doctor :   This is one of the major risk factors for inducing a heart problem/
Doctor :   Hence it is absolutely necessary that you lose weight and shed those excessive fat so that the chances of heart attacts are prevented.
Doctor :   Do you follow?
User :   Sure, I modified my food intake a month ago, after the initial visit to the doctor.
Doctor :   In simple words, since you have symptoms of mild heart dysfunction, if you do not reduce weight, there are high chances that you may land up in having a severe heart disease .
Doctor :   Now coming to the test that are needed.
Doctor :   The first 3 test that i mentioned are non invasive test while the last one is a invasive test.
Doctor :   You do not require the last test at this instant, however the first 3 test may have to be performed.
Doctor :   Have you followed what I have suggested?
User :   Yes.
Doctor :   Do you have any other query that I can assist you with?
Doctor :   It seems you have moved out of the chat window. Please log in back if you have medical queries.
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