What You Can Learn From Your EKG Results

What You Can Learn From Your EKG Results

No matter your race or sex, you’re at risk for heart disease. Coronary heart disease (CHD), the most common type of heart disease, kills approximately 375,000 people a year. About 5% of women and men older than 20 have CAD.

So when you experience chest pain, tightness in your chest, or feel dizzy, you may worry that it’s your heart. Depending on your symptoms, family history, and a physical exam, your doctor may recommend an electrocardiogram (EKG). 

Doctors may recommend this important diagnostic tool when you:

Kimberly Bolling, MD, is an experienced clinician who administers and interprets EKGs at her office in Bowie, Maryland. Because the EKG is on-site, you get your results right away.

So, if you need an EKG, what does the test tell you? And how does that information change your treatment plan? Following is a brief rundown.

What an EKG does

An EKG measures the electrical activity in your heart and translates it into a series of waveforms that we then interpret. Both the strength of your heart’s electrical signals and the timing of them give us insights into the health of your heart.

EKG identifies past heart attacks

When you have chest pain, your first worry may be that you’ve had a heart attack, particularly if you have other classic symptoms, such as arm pain or dizziness.

If you’ve had a heart attack, we can see evidence on your EKG. A heart attack occurs when your heart doesn’t get enough oxygen. Evidence of it shows up on the waveforms of an EKG.

The EKG waveforms can even tell us what type of heart attack you had. Types of heart attack include:

If you’re having a heart attack at the time of the EKG, we see that, too.

EKG evaluates arterial health

When plaque blocks your arteries, that shows up on your EKG, too. The greater the blockage in your arteries, the harder it is for your heart to pump blood. 

If we determine that you have blockages, we may recommend lifestyle changes, such as a whole-foods diet and plenty of exercise. Or, if you have high cholesterol that’s causing the plaques, we may put you on a statin drug.

EKG evaluates rhythm problems

A regular, steady heartbeat is a measure of health. Your heart should beat about 60-100 beats per minute, without skips or delays. If your heart skips beats, or if you have palpitations or other abnormalities, we see it on the EKG. Rhythm problems include:

If you have arrhythmias, we may recommend a pacemaker to keep your heartbeat steady and regular.

EKG ‘measures’ your heart

Although we sometimes say that kind people have “big hearts,” a big or thick heart isn’t a healthy heart. An enlarged heart is known as “cardiomegaly.” Cardiomegaly may be caused by:

The waveforms on a cardiomegaly EKG are significantly larger than normal waveforms.

EKG determines your risk for a heart attack

Even if you haven’t had a heart attack, the EKG gives us a good idea if you’re at risk for one. We can then help you make modifications to your daily routine to lower your risk. Or, we may prescribe medications to control your cholesterol or aid your heart in other ways.

We also recommend an EKG before you start a medically supervised weight loss program. Depending on the results, we may make modifications to your weight loss and exercise regimen.

This one simple test helps us keep your heart healthy. An EKG is painless and usually only takes a few minutes. You have your results within an hour or two.

If you have chest pain or troubling symptoms, contact us today for an EKG by calling 301-352-0090. You may also request an appointment online.

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