What is an EKG for? Your Guide to Heart Disease

doctor looking at patient's EKG paper

What is an EKG for? You might’ve heard these letters in your doctor’s office and maybe you were recently assigned to get one.

An EKG, or sometimes known as ECG, stands for electrocardiogram. It’s a test that checks your heartbeat and looks for signs of heart irregularities. The test is performed on healthy adults as well as people with heart disease.

Read on to find out more about EKG and why you should make it a part of your annual doctor’s visit.

What Is An EKG For and Why You Should Get One?

Every year about 785,000 Americans experience heart attacks and heart disease is responsible for over 25% of deaths in the United States.

At such an alarming rate, the EKG test is an important part of routine checkups for anyone older than 21 but especially for anyone with a family history of heart disease.

How Does the Test Work?

EKG is a painless, noninvasive test that can be done within 10 minutes.

The patient lies down and the doctor attaches electrode patches onto the arms, legs, and chest. For women, the doctor will ask you to lift up your shirt and unclip your bra so they can attach the patches onto your chest.

Next, the doctor will connect the patches on your body to a computer where it will capture and graph your heart activity. All you’ll have to do is lie down and relax for a few minutes because your doctor wants to see your “resting” EKG.

What Does An EKG Show?

Based on the results of your test, your doctor will be able to tell you whether your heart is beating normally or not, if you have normal blood flow, and whether you are susceptible to heart disease.

In the case that they see something is abnormal, they will ask you to follow up with a Holter monitor or event monitor. But don’t panic, sometimes heart irregularities can be a one-off thing and do not necessarily mean you have heart disease. It just means it needs to be looked into further and these devices will help your doctor do that.

A Holter monitor a small device that you’ll have to bring home and wear usually for 24 hours but sometimes a few days. It’ll come with patches just like the EKG test and its purpose is to capture your heart rhythm for an entire day while you’re doing your normal activities.

An event monitor is a device that you push to record your heart activities for a shorter length of time. This is normally worn by people who are already showing signs of heart problems because the doctor wants to better understand your heart activities during these moments.

Get Your EKG Today

Now that you know what is an EKG for, you can ask for one on your next doctor’s visit. Remember that signs of heart disease aren’t always obvious. Dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest discomfort can all be signs of heart disease.

If you work in a job that is highly stressful, we would also recommend you to get an EKG as stress can definitely affect our heart health.

If you would like to learn more about EKG or schedule one with us today, feel to contact us or visit us our website.

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