Question: Why and how often do I need a stress test?
Answer: Your doctor will decide if it's appropriate for you to have a stress test, and there are two major reasons that he might chose to do so. The first is if you have risk factors or other features that -- laboratory test, EKG -- that suggest you might have blockages of the artery to the heart, called coronary atherosclerosis or coronary disease. He might do it just to help to determine if you do or not. That's a very common reason why stress tests are performed.
The second reason is that you have blockages in your artery, you know you have a problem with your heart, it's to determine how severe it is and build a plan for the optimal treatment for you in the future.
And stress tests are done if there's a change in your symptoms over time, and often on the first evaluation when there seems there might be a problem with your heart.
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