A quick and pain-free heart test could let you know if you have heart problems. Called an electrocardiogram, this test can catch early signs of heart disease, pinpoint heart abnormalities, and help doctors determine how to treat any problems detected. In this blog, the doctors at Downtown Medical Group describe what the test involves and what it can detect.
What is an EKG?
An electrocardiogram, also referred to as an EKG or ECG, is a test that doctors can perform to detect any abnormal heart rhythms as well as how fast or slow your heart beats. An EKG is one of the simplest and quickest ways to get an accurate reading of your heartbeat. It does so by reading the electrical impulses your heart sends out with every pulse.
To perform an EKG, your doctor places electrodes in specific places on your skin, including near your heart and sometimes on your arms and legs. The electrodes are connected by wires to an EKG machine, and the electrodes transmit the electrical impulses generated by your heart.
No electricity is sent into your body during an EKG. The procedure is painless and noninvasive, and risks are minimal and rare.
Benefits of getting an EKG
Doctors can use an EKG to detect heart problems or check on existing problems. Among the many benefits, an EKG can help do the following:
- Uncover the cause of chest pain
- Uncover the cause of chest fluttering
- Evaluate shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other heart-related symptoms
- Check for abnormally fast or slow heart rates
- Check for irregular heart beats, such as skipped beats
- Determine the overall health of your heart
- Check on your heart health before and after surgery
- Find out if a heart medication is working
- See how a pacemaker is working
You may also want to get an EKG because of your family’s medical history. If you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, an EKG can catch complications early, often before symptoms arise. Furthermore, some medications put a patient at risk for certain heart complications and irregularities and an EKG can help detect those complications.
An EKG can also just give you peace of mind. If you’ve been experiencing unusual chest pain or other symptoms that may be related to your heart, an EKG can rule out serious health conditions and allow you to reduce unnecessary stress about health problems.
To learn more about EKGs and to find out if this test could be a good addition to your annual wellness checkup, book an appointment online or over the phone with Downtown Medical Group today.