An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a simple and fast test that evaluates the health of your heart. There’s no reason to have an EKG, though, unless you’ve either had symptoms that worry you, you’re at high risk for heart disease, or you’re about to embark on an athletic or weight loss program that requires a healthy heart.
Kimberly Bolling, MD, is an expert internist who administers and interprets EKGs in the comfort and convenience of her Bowie, Maryland, office. What can an EKG tell you about your heart? Take a moment to find out.
An EKG measures the electrical activity in your heart. Healthy hearts beat regularly and predictably, at about 60-100 beats per minute (bpm). If you have a condition called arrhythmia, though, your heart may beat:
Because the EKG measures the electrical output of your heart, it’s very easy to see whether your heart is beating normally. If you have bradycardia, tachycardia, or very irregular heartbeats, Dr. Bolling may recommend a pacemaker to keep your heart at a normal rhythm.
If you had severe chest pain, or left-arm pain, and you’re afraid that you had a heart attack, an EKG can give you the answer within an hour. Heart attacks happen when the blood flow to your heart is blocked.
An EKG can even let us know if you’re having a heart attack right now. It gives us information about your heart and blood vessels so you get the answers — and treatment — you may need without delay.
Because heart attacks are caused by blocked blood flow to the heart, checking how freely blood flows through your blood vessels gives us a good idea if you’re at risk for a heart attack.
If your arteries are narrowed by plaque, which is a buildup of cholesterol and other fats and substances, we may recommend changes to your diet. We may also prescribe a statin to lower your cholesterol.
An EKG also gives us a sense of how large and thick your heart is. An enlarged heart — also called cardiomegaly — can develop from a viral infection, high blood pressure (HBP), and heart failure. Cardiomegaly can be detected when the waveforms of your EKG are unusually large.
Although you may think of EKGs as being highly involved tests with long wait times, they’re just the opposite. In the comfort and privacy of our office, our technician adheres electrodes to your chest. The electrodes are attached to wires that connect to the EKG.
You simply lie back and relax while the EKG measures the electrical activity of your heart. You can see the waveforms as they’re being created. Dr. Bolling then interprets your results for you.
Don't worry about your heart. If you’ve had chest pain, pain in your left arm, or have a history of heart disease or HBP, schedule an EKG at our Bowie, Maryland, office today by calling 301-352-0090. Or, request an appointment online.