What Is an EKG, and When Should You Have One?

heart exam

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, men, and most ethnic groups? Are you looking for a way to identify heart disease and avoid that statistic?

Find out how an EKG works exactly and how it’s beneficial for a heart exam. Read on to explore what it is and when you should have one.

What Is an EKG?

An EKG (electrocardiogram) records the electrical activity of your heart from patches that attach to your skin. These patches are sticky pads that are attached to your limbs, arms, or chest.

It’s considered a beneficial test to check for heart disease and can be used as part of a physical examination.

They’re inexpensive, safe, fast, and effective. An EKG can check for a heart attack, view poor blood flow to the heart muscle, and look at your heart rhythm. It can also view anything that’s abnormal such as an enlarged heart.

When You Should Get an EKG

Certain jobs can require you to get an EKG to see how you’ll take on physical work. Did you know that 28.2 million people were diagnosed with heart disease in 2016?

If you have any signs of heart disease such as light-headedness, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations, you’ll definitely want an EKG done.

Certain prescription medications require you to receive an EKG before receiving it. Even if you feel healthy, if your family history has certain medical conditions or heart disease, you’ll want to get this test done.

Preparing for an EKG

When you’re receiving this test for the heart, you want to avoid movement. You’ll want to wear a shirt that can be removed easily so the patches can be placed on your chest.

You’ll want to avoid any full-length hosiery so the patches can be easily placed on your legs. Make sure to not have any lotions or creams on your skin on the day of the test. They can affect electrode activity.

What to Expect

During an EKG, you’ll receive 10 electrodes containing adhesive pads placed onto your arms, legs, and chest. If you have hair on your chest, you might have your chest shaved to make the placement of the adhesive pads possible.

You’ll lay down flat, and the computer will have information on a graph of the electrical impulses from your heart. The test altogether should take about 10 minutes.

Any questions or concerns you have prior to the test, make sure you speak with your doctor.

Other Tests

Another test your doctor might recommend is a Holter monitor. This is a small device you wear for 24-48 hours. This device will record all of your heartbeats.

This is normally done after an EKG to view additional information the EKG might not have picked up. Another option is what’s known as an event monitor. This is a portable device that’s used to check your heart’s electrical activity.

The information can normally be sent directly to your doctor so they can view the results. Another option, which is an electrocardiogram is known as a signal-averaged electrocardiogram.

This test is painless and will show how likely you are to develop a heart arrhythmia. It’s very similar to an EKG.

When to Know If You Need a Heart Exam

When you’re contemplating an EKG for a heart exam, just know it’s painless, quick, and effective. Are you ready to get your heart under control and find out your risks?

Contact us today to come in and get an EKG done to check your heart’s condition and make sure you’re healthy.