Many people consider high blood pressure and pretty much any other kind of cardiovascular disease as traitorous ailments. Their onset produces very few palpable and detectable symptoms but could actually result in instant death, especially in the case of sudden cardiac arrest. Indeed, it is this lack of any apparent and alarming symptoms that makes most people forego any testing and treatment.
This practice should be discouraged as this is pretty much like consigning yourself to ignorance, which only ever leads to untoward consequences. You shouldn’t disregard any aspect of your health, all the more so if it concerns your heart. There’s also practically no reason for you to not avail of an electrocardiogram (ECG) test, which serves as a good window to your heart’s overall health. Delaying further, especially if you have already exhibited symptoms of heart ailments, could mean the difference between life and death.
Preliminary Facts about Electrocardiogram Testing
ECG testing is termed as such because it monitors the electrical activities in your heart. The heart, after all, has its own natural electrical system, which is responsible for pumping blood to vital parts and regions of your body. As the test is being conducted, its findings would be rendered as line tracings, which would be shown on a piece of paper. A normal ECG test would exhibit waves that spike or dip consecutively. The test is applicable for both at rest and exercise examinations.
As for how the test is actually done, a complete ECG test commonly involves placing up to 10 electrodes on different regions of the body. Most (usually 6) of the electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest; some are placed on the arms and legs as well to be able to give a full view of one’s cardiac state. These electrodes are the ones that pick up the electric signals issued by the heart. These signals are then relayed to the main ECG machine, which then proceeds to print it out.
What Can You Learn from An ECG Test?
This test is a potent gauge of the heart’s overall state as it is able to
- Detect the underlying cause of chest pain, which could be the result of a heart attack, angina, or other inflammatory heart ailments like pericarditis.
- Determine whether common symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, and palpitations, to cite a few, are due to an already developing serious heart disease or not
- Determine whether there is a thickening on any of the heart’s main chambers, which is a primary symptom of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).
- Detect heart abnormalities and clogging of the arteries.
- Check the effects of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol on the heart.
- Find out whether certain medications and devices (like pacemakers, for instance) would be advisable and more efficient for a patient.
- Help doctors plan the course of treatment for a patient, based on the precise findings that it is able to make.
The Importance of ECG Testing in Patient Management
Monitoring cardiac activity is one of the important steps that ensures the effectiveness of patient treatment and management. In fact, many procedures like open-heart surgery as well as cathlab rely primarily on the findings on ECG tests. Many of today’s advanced monitoring systems readily incorporate features that could interpret and report results. They often include a screening device, which is the one that is mainly responsible for monitoring the patient’s heart functions. It is complemented by a printer that automatically prints out the findings. Some even include a built-in recording system, which is able to archive every test done on a patient. These, of course, serve as valuable tools for the doctor’s future reference.
Once a problem has been detected by an ECG test, it is only then that other diagnostic methods are performed. These could be echocardiograms, x-rays of the chest, magnetic resonance or a simple stress test, to name a few. Certain medical procedures require consistent monitoring of the patient’s heart, as well. For instance, during courses of surgeries and catheter procedures, doctors always make it a point to prioritize cardiac monitoring. The same goes for post-procedure or if a patient has been placed under intensive care.
Why You Should Not Hesitate to Have Your Heart Tested Regularly
Preventive screening of the heart is crucial to maintaining its health, as evidenced by the rising number of cases of cardiac ailments in these modern times. In many countries around the world, heart disease is almost always the top cause of death in both males and females. Efforts to mitigate mortality from these ailments may already be showing signs of success. However, this doesn’t erase the fact that stroke and heart attack numbers are still on the rise.
It is for this reason why early detection of possible illnesses of the heart is nothing short of necessary. It has to be reiterated beforehand, though, that patients who have exhibited warning symptoms of heart disease are the only ones who are advised to undergo regular ECG testing. The facts stated above should convince anyone, who doesn’t want to have to deal with a more serious heart complication in the future, to settle for nothing less. Even if you are not showing any of the usual symptoms, it would still be wise to undergo an ECG test if you already have some of the risk factors (e.g. family history and smoking and alcohol use).
This is because, in the end, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to be always certain of your current state of well-being. The heart is one of the body’s most vital organs; it is also one of its hardest working as well. This fact alone provides sufficient reason to opt for the surer and safer option. Regular heart checkups via ECG tests and other related tests that would be able to help you keep your heart in tip-top shape are but some of the many important practices you need to start adapting. Complement it with optimal lifestyle changes and other well-known healthy practices, and you pretty much have a solid equation that would be able to completely solve something as chronic a problem as heart disease.
Sathya Kumar is the Founder & CEO at Techindia Infoway Pvt Ltd., Chennai. Techindia focused on accelerating productivity and provide flexible solutions for an ever-changing healthcare landscape by assisting the patient’s of the radiology department/Labs, diagnostic centers, Hospitals, individual radiologists and the private healthcare sector to receive the highest quality off site diagnostic reports.
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