An electrocardiogram is used quite commonly used both in everything from the smallest doctor’s offices to large hospitals. It can help reveal quite a bit about the health of your heart. If you’ve never had one, it is nothing to fear. It is one of the easiest medical tests there is and takes only a few minutes. It is important, however, that you understand what an electrocardiogram, also called an EKG or ECG, is and what it can reveal to your doctor.
What is an Electrocardiogram?
Through small sensors placed both on the chest and the limbs, an electrocardiogram machine measures the strength and frequency of the electric signals in your body that also trigger your heart to beat. You won’t feel any electricity during the test as the sensors are only meant to read the signals and not cause any. It will only take a few minutes as your doctor will only need a small sample to be able to diagnose many things.
Why Would You Need One?
While an EKG has become standard procedure in many hospitals even if you don’t have any symptoms that would point to a problem with your heart, in some instances it is a very necessary part of diagnosis and treatment. If you notice heart palpitations or a rapid heartbeat, even if those symptoms are rare, you will most likely need an electrocardiogram. Symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath will require this test to either confirm or rule out a heart attack. There are many general symptoms as well that can trigger the need for an EKG.
What Can an EKG Tell Your Doctor?
As mentioned, an electrocardiogram can help diagnose a heart attack. It can also show them an irregular heartbeat, also known as an arrhythmia. If you have arteries in your heart that are narrowing, or even blocked altogether, your doctor will be able to not only see that, but determine if they are causing chest pain or an actual heart attack. Sometimes the chambers of your heart will have structural problems, whether they occurred over time or you’ve had them all along. If you are undergoing treatments for your heart condition, whether a pacemaker or oral medication, an electrocardiogram can help determine how well they are working.
An electrocardiogram, also referred to as an EKG or ECG, is a very useful test. Your primary care doctor may request one for routine evaluation, as a baseline if you ever need one in the future so they can be compared. Hospitals can order one whether you have symptoms
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