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Stress Tests
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Symptoms and evidence of coronary artery disease and other heart ailments often appear when the heart is working harder. Several diagnostic tests are designed to assess heart function and determine blood flow while "under stress”: 

Exercise stress tests monitor your heart while you are walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike. How long you exercise, your blood pressure, your EKG and how you feel when you exert yourself are observed and recorded during the test.

Pharmacologic stress tests use a drug to reproduce the effects of exercise on the heart. This is a safe alternative for women who are not able to perform the required level of exercise due to older age, arthritis or excess weight.

Nuclear imaging, also called myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), uses a small amount of a radioactive substance to produce images of the heart. A liquid "tracer” is injected into your bloodstream and monitored while you are at rest and during stress. Blood flow to your heart is measured to determine damage to the heart muscle or blood flow problems. Since this test exposes you to a very small amount of radiation, tell your healthcare provider if you think you might be pregnant. 
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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) patient advocacy organization with thousands of members nationwide, including women heart patients and their families, health care providers, advocates and consumers committed to helping women live longer, healthier lives. WomenHeart supports, educates and advocates on behalf of the 42 million American women living with or at risk of heart disease. Our programs are made possible by donations, grants and corporate partnerships.

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