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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.

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