When is an EKG Recommended?

Whether you went to your doctor for an annual exam or because you’ve been experiencing troubling symptoms, such as chest pain or tightness, you may be worried when you’re told you need an electrocardiogram (EKG). Though you may associate EKGs with serious heart disease, an EKG is actually a simple test that takes only a few minutes.

An EKG measures the electrical activity in your heart and circulatory system so your doctor can determine if they’re functioning optimally, or whether you need medication or a referral to a specialist.

Dr. Kimberly L. Bolling is a highly trained internal medicine specialist in Bowie, Maryland, who performs EKGs in the office, so you’ll have your results quickly. She may order an EKG based on your history, symptoms or her findings during an exam.

 

Heart-related symptoms

If you come to our Bowie, Maryland, office complaining of symptoms that suggest heart disease, Dr. Bolling performs an EKG. Symptoms that the EKG should evaluate include:

If your EKG is normal, Dr. Bolling may order other tests to determine the root of your discomfort.

 

High blood pressure

During each medical exam, Dr. Bolling’s assistant tests your blood pressure. High blood pressure (HBP) is a dangerous condition that can lead to serious, even life-threatening events such as heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it doesn’t have any symptoms.

If your blood pressure is high, Dr. Bolling uses the EKG to see if your heart shows evidence of having suffered an attack, or has any physical abnormalities. The EKG can also show her if you have clots or blockages in your blood vessels that are interrupting blood flow.

 

Family history of heart disease

Having a close family member with heart disease may make you worry about your heart’s health. You can get an EKG to be sure your heart is working well, even if you don’t have any symptoms and your blood pressure is normal.

However, EKGs have a high false-positive rate when conducted in healthy women and men, so talk to Dr. Bolling to make sure you understand the benefits and risks.

 

You think you had a heart attack

Having the classic symptoms of a heart attack, such as pain in your left arm or chest pain, can be frightening. Even if you feel OK afterward, you may still wonder if you had a mild heart attack. Dr. Bolling orders an EKG to make sure you’re healthy.

 

Check your meds and your health

If you’ve started taking medications for HBP or other heart-related condition, or have a pacemaker, Dr. Bolling uses the EKG to check that your therapies are doing their job. She may also recommend an EKG if you have a chronic illness and are contemplating a new exercise routine that could stress your heart.

 

An EKG is just one tool that Dr. Bolling uses to help you stay healthy and fit. If you have heart-related symptoms, or are worried about your heart, call our friendly team or use the online appointment form.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Who Gets Gout?

If you got your information solely from movies, plays, and books, you’d think the only people in the world who get gout are wealthy, obese, white men. Not true. Anyone can develop gout, especially as they age. Are you at risk for painful gout?

Which Type of Sleep Apnea Do You Have?

You snore. You snort. You wake yourself up. It’s no wonder you never feel rested. You do an internet search and realize that you might have sleep apnea. But there’s more than one type. So how do you know which type applies to you?

Help! I'm Struggling to Lose Weight

You try every calorie-reducing diet that comes along, and you run the treadmill for hours. So how come your bulges don’t budge? Why can’t you lose weight so you can be healthy and fit? Sounds like you need some help.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

For all of the muscles you can build up in your body, the one that absolutely needs to be strong is your heart. But when heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States, how do you know if your heart is at risk?

What Causes Earaches?

Maybe you remember getting lots of earaches as a child, but it may take you by surprise when you or a family member gets one as an adolescent or adult. What causes earaches, anyway? And how can you prevent them?

4 Lifestyle Tips for Managing Arthritis

When arthritis makes your joints stiff and painful, your first thought may be to reach for medication. But just making a few changes in your lifestyle could bring you relief, too — and without the side effects.