What to Know and Expect if Your Doctor Recommends a Stress Echocardiogram

stress echocardiogramPhoto by BlueOctane on English Wikipedia

Have you had a recent doctor’s appointment and been told that a stress echocardiogram should be done? If you’ve never had one of these before, it can cause a bit of stress on its own. It’s normal to get nervous and feel unsure about tests and procedures that you know nothing about. While you can and should ask your doctor for more details, it can be helpful to also do your own research to put your mind at ease and answer your questions.

So, before you get yourself too worked up or nervous about it, let’s take an in-depth look at what a stress echocardiogram is, why it is done, how long it takes, and what is involved. We will also touch upon the results and information that the test can reveal so that you feel more comfortable going into the test.

What is a Stress Echocardiogram?

A stress echocardiogram is often referred to as a stress test, or even a stress echo. The purpose of the test is to take a look at your blood vessels and heart so the doctor can determine how well they are working. In order to see how your heart and blood vessels are working, you will actually perform exercises during the test while you are being monitored.

An ultrasound image is taken of your heart once your heart rate increases. The reason this is done is that it will show how much oxygen and blood is working its way into your heart’s muscles.

Why Would a Doctor Order a Stress Echocardiogram?

So why would a doctor order this type of test? Well there are a few reasons that may prompt them to order the test be done such as a heart attack, coronary artery disease, chest pain, or a myocardial infarction.

And it’s not just about looking at disease and health issues; if you have been a recent patient of angioplasty, bypass grafting, or take antiarrhythmic or anti-anginal medication, the test can show how effective the treatment has been. It gives doctors that all-important inside look at how your heart is functioning and responding.

What to Expect During the Test

Now that you’re feeling clearer on what the test is and why it’s ordered, it’s time to put your mind at ease regarding the actual test itself. This is a non-invasive test so you don’t have to worry about any sort of involved procedure. It’s also relatively safe but there can be side effects such as fainting, dizziness, an abnormal heart rate, or in extreme cases heart attack. This is because you will be exerting a fair amount of energy as you exercise.

When you first arrive for your test, a technician will place small electrodes on your chest. These are flat patches that are sticky so they stay in place. During the exercise portion of the test, they will attach wires to the electrodes that will read the electrical activity happening in your heart. This doesn’t hurt, nor will you feel a thing. Sometimes a clear gel will also be applied to your skin in order to help the electrodes stick better.

Now it’s time for the resting echocardiogram which will take a look at your heart’s activity before exercise. Once that is done, it’s time to get exercising. Typically, you will work out on a stationary bike or treadmill. The technician will inform you about the intensity that you need to exert during the test.

They will want to get your heart rate elevated as much as possible, so you will be exerting a lot of energy. The test tends to take about 10 minutes. During this time if you start to have any sort of chest pain, you feel weak, or you get dizzy, it’s important to let the technician know.

You will keep exercising until the technician tells you to stop. At that point, an ultrasound is done so that they can see how your heart is functioning. You can then start a cool down period to allow your heart to return to its natural level. Again, the technician will monitor you during this time.

In some cases, you will perform a stress test with medication. If that’s the case, the medication is administered through your arm using an IV. This is so that a resting EKG can also be done, which will make your heart think you are still exercising. During this process it’s common for the technician to ask how you’re doing at regular intervals.

How to Prepare Yourself for the Test

In total, the test should take about an hour. Typically, you will be told not to eat or drink for four hours leading up to the test. If you are a smoker, you will be asked not to smoke on the day of the test. If you happen to take medication, then you will need to ask your doctor if you should still take it that day.

Now, because you will be working out, you want to dress in loose comfortable clothing and supportive athletic shoes. Choose a shirt that makes it easy for the electrodes to be placed under. In other words, skip the tight top.

Understanding the Results

As for the results, you may or may not be given them on that same day. This will depend on where you get your test done and who is there to perform it and read the results. If your test comes back as normal, then you know your heart is functioning well and there aren’t any issues.

If you get an abnormal test result, then it could mean that there is damage to your heart or that it isn’t pumping blood in an effective manner. These tests can also help as far as predicting future issues so that you can take measures to prevent things like heart disease.

Having a stress echocardiogram done is nothing to be worried about, and instead should be seen as a valuable tool in assessing your heart’s health.

6 Reasons Why Self-Care Is Not Selfish

self-carePhoto by kevin laminto on Unsplash

It seems that everywhere we turn there is someone or something telling us that we need to be working non-stop, that resting and relaxation are bad ideas, that we always need to put other people before ourselves. Although in some cases and some circumstances this may well be true, most of the time it is much more important to take care of yourself. If you can do this, you will be in a better position to help others, and you will be happier and healthier too. If you feel that self-care is a selfish thing to do, we’ve put together some of the biggest reasons that this is far from the truth. Maybe it’s time to slow down and think of yourself for a change!

Get To Know Yourself

In all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to lose sight of what is most important, and the goals that we once might have set ourselves. When you are always doing something for someone else and not focusing on your own needs, the plans and ideas you had can disappear, leaving you feeling unfulfilled and miserable. When you take the time to be by yourself and look after your own needs and your health too, you can get back on track with those plans, and remind yourself of them if you have forgotten where you wanted to head.

If you can commit to doing just one thing for yourself every day (such as taking time to read a chapter of a book or choosing one TV show to enjoy), you will find it easier to remember what it was you wanted to do and work out a way to get there. It will be hard at first, especially if your natural instinct is to care for others first and not even think of your own needs, but it will be worth it. Looking after yourself doesn’t mean forgetting to take care of other people, it just means that you will be able to do it more effectively and help them even more.

Others Will Benefit

The only real way to help other people in a physical, mental, or spiritual way is to ensure that you are the best you can possibly be, and without self-care, this is impossible. You must have a healthy body and mind if you are going to inspire others to have the same. In a purely practical way, you need to be healthy so that you can meet the needs of others too. For example, you might have a hearing problem that means you can’t understand what others need to say to you when they are asking for help. It isn’t selfish to look into the facts about using a hearing aid, and you can view here to find out more, such as the benefits and where to buy a hearing aid. If you find that you are suffering from depression, you won’t be able to fully function enough to assist other people, and it isn’t selfish to ask for help.

No matter what your problem may be, getting help for it or working to make yourself better in every way possible is the only way you can truly help other people.

You Will Live More

The sad fact is that many people are simply existing and not actually living. When you exist, you are going through the motions of what you need to do to stay alive and not really feeling anything more. It’s waking up, going to work, coming home again, going to bed, and waking up to start all over again. This is fine for many people, but is it fine for you? Would you rather be living and experiencing all kinds of different, exciting things? If so, you must take care of yourself to be able to function properly and truly make the most of all the opportunities that are presented to you. You will still have responsibilities, but for those who are able to take care of themselves, those responsibilities are not a problem, and clearer thinking means more ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

You’ll Feel Empowered

Self-care is something that can truly empower you. Taking time for yourself can be a big step, but once it is done and you realize the benefits you are feeling from it, you will understand that you can, if you try, do anything. This is massively empowering and will help you to take on those opportunities as mentioned above. Focus on yourself and work out what you need to do to feel as good as you possibly can, then go for it!

You’ll Be More Motivated

Sometimes life can be hard, and you might find that you lose any motivation you once had because you feel ground down and tired of it all. When this happens, you can easily fall into the routine of simply existing and going from one task to another, doing what is expected of you, feeling unsatisfied but not being able to do anything much about it.

When you step back and take time for yourself, whether it’s being pampered in a spa, taking a walk in nature, or simply lying down for a rest, you’ll start to recover. You need this alone time to do something that fills your soul with happiness because, in this way, you will find your motivation once more. When you do, life automatically becomes more exciting, and you can enjoy it finally.

You’ll Be Physically Healthier

Even if your mind is happy and feeling fulfilled when you are constantly helping others, your body will start to become tired and stop functioning as it should if you don’t take any time to have a rest and care for your own needs. This is because you can easily become over-tired and not sleep enough as you should, therefore not allowing your body to heal itself overnight. Or perhaps you are skipping meals or eating unhealthy snacks and junk food because you don’t have time to do anything else due to your routine of caring for other people and putting your own needs last. You might even be drinking too much alcohol because it is the only way you can find to wind down after everything is done. All of this will make you unhealthy and cause you many problems. Your own health must always be a priority.

How to Cope with Chronic Pain

chronic painPhoto by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

Have you heard of the “Don’t Push Pain” movement? It is a group of patients who are not able to get the medication they need to cope with their chronic pain and are tired of suffering in silence. They rallied on the steps of the Capitol building in mid-September 2018. There are multiple aspects of the opioid epidemic. There are those who, like the example mentioned above, do not feel they are getting the medication they need. Another group of people are the individuals who became addicted to medication designed to help their chronic pain, suffered terribly, and eventually got help through opiate rehab.

No matter your opinion on the opioid epidemic, the truth is that many individuals out there are suffering with chronic pain. While medication has proven to be helpful for some individuals, other therapies or at-home treatments have also proven to be helpful. Here are some techniques you can use to cope with chronic pain.

One of the first things that a person can do when they are experiencing chronic pain is to keep a journal. They want to write down how much pain they experience each day. They can use a 1 to 10 scale in order to judge how much pain they feel. It is a good idea to write down other things in the journal that relate to their pain and their overall health. They could include things like how much exercise they get, the foods they eat, how much stress they experience, and other information. First, this journal may help a person to get a clearer view of why they experience pain. Second, it is helpful when visiting a doctor. The doctor will be able to see in writing how much pain you experience each day as well as learn about your overall lifestyle.

Try to get more exercise. While engaging in physical activity can be challenging for individuals who suffer with chronic pain, it is not helpful to be inactive. The idea is to find some type of physical activity that you can engage in comfortably. It may be as simple as going for a slow-paced walk every evening. Or it could be visiting a local pool a couple of times a week and getting low impact exercise. There are multiple reasons why getting regular exercise can help you to cope with chronic pain. First, chronic pain can often lead to a person gaining weight. This puts extra physical pressure on their body and can lead to emotional distress. Getting regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Second, exercise is good for your muscles and joints, which are often affected by chronic pain. Third, exercise encourages your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers. This is especially helpful for individuals who are fighting against opiate addiction.

Try to find ways to reduce stress in your life. When a person experiences high levels of stress, this can actually make their body more sensitive to pain. The first step that you should take is to eliminate things in your life that cause you stress. Perhaps it is time to quit your job and find something else. Perhaps it is good idea to cut off a relationship with someone who only brings negativity to your life. The next step is to create an environment where you can better deal with the stress that you can’t eliminate. Use soothing music, calming colors, or even aromatherapy to create a welcoming environment in your home or office.

Many have found that deep breathing exercises can help them manage their chronic pain. This is especially true if the reason why they have chronic pain has to do with their muscles. Deep breathing exercises will relax your muscles and allow your muscles to release the pain that you are experiencing.

It is important to work closely with your doctor when managing chronic pain. Your doctor will help you to determine if medication is the right option for you. They can also tell you about other therapies that can be used to treat your specific type of chronic pain. Many have found that acupuncture and alternative treatments have helped them eliminate their pain or at least minimize it.

It is estimated that one in five individuals in the United States has chronic pain. The techniques that are mentioned above have been able to help many of these individuals minimize their pain and get it under control.

Medical Training to Assist Local People Who Have Fallen, Experienced Accidents or Become Ill

healthcarePhoto by Stefan Schranz @Pixabay

If you’ve ever had the desire to help people and wondered how you can apply that as a career, then you should strongly consider training for the medical field. There are many ways that you can assist people in your local community who have fallen in the street and hurt themselves, been involved in a car accident or become seriously ill. It all starts with deciding that healthcare is an interesting field to enter and choosing a career path within the healthcare profession that suits you best.

Although attending classes on campus is certainly one option, the advent of online study courses to complete a degree opens the door to students who require flexible study hours. Not needing to transit to and from a college by taking advantage of online medical-related degree courses from this school helps students enter the healthcare field sooner than they might have previously thought possible. Their accessible campus is in Clearwater, Florida should you have questions that you wish to ask in-person.

Let’s look at the career options available when studying for a medical-related associate degree.

Working in Health and Human Services

An associate degree in Health and Human Services puts you front and center working in the local community. An entry-level posting as a community coordinator, an outreach specialist, or a social services assistant are just some of the possible roles. It really helps if you’re the type of person who gets along well with almost everybody and puts people at ease easily. This is a growing field that is expected to expand by 16 percent through to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The excellent work that Walk San Francisco has been doing to raise awareness about the need for safer walking areas in the city to avoid accidents speaks to good community relations and the safety of local people on public walkways and when crossing the street. In this way, healthcare professions can play a diverse set of roles affecting not only patients but the people working tirelessly to make improvements to the life of others living nearby.

Other possible roles within Health and Human Services includes veteran outreach to see how the healthcare profession can better assist our respected veterans. Both child care and elder care programs, along with mental health care facilities, are other specialized areas that are open to workers with this specialty.

Getting Technical with Technology

If you’re good with computers, software and figuring out complicated things that baffle other people, then qualifying as a Health Information Technician is going to be right up your alley. The role has a median pay of approximately $39,000 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The most important responsibility in this kind of role is to keep the electronic health record (EHR) current and accurate. This is the patients’ electronic records that doctors and nurses rely upon to examine their history, make a diagnosis, prescribe medication or medical procedures, and monitor the progress of the patient through the course of their treatment.

Due to the HIPAA regulations governing how patient information is to be collected, accessed and stored, the role often includes topics like data security, privacy, maintaining confidential records and other important subjects. The healthcare organization has overall responsibility for keeping patient records private and often even uses encrypted pagers to message personnel about urgent matters to ensure patient information is not disseminated.

The course should be CAHIIM-accredited. This provides for a course review progress to validate that it covers necessary subjects and meets or betters the standards as set by the American Health Information Management Association.

Healthcare Management for Problem Solvers

The Healthcare Management Associate degree provides analytical thinkers and superb multi-taskers with the tools to be an effective supervisor or specialist. Whether working as a medical billing supervisor ensuring the bills are for the correct amount and go out to the right person or organization, a front desk supervisor to deal with arrivals or disputes as they arise, or an office supervisory role, they all have their challenges and applicability in a healthcare organization.

A career in healthcare management suits a person who likes thinking on their feet, is methodical and organized, and can manage other people well. Being a people person, to an extent, is useful but you don’t need to be the life of the party. You steer the ship, reduce administrative mistakes and smooth out disputes when they arise. You’re the dependable one. Can you handle that?

Preparing Medications as a Pharmacy Technician

The Pharmacy Technician must complete their training to qualify for this demanding job. In this instance, there isn’t an associate degree to complete, but a full training program instead. Students also have the option whether to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which some healthcare facilities/states count as a prerequisite to employment in this type of work. This is because, not only must medications be correctly selected and dosage numbers accurately calculated, but insurance claims are part of the responsibility in this role too.

Patients must receive the correct medication in the appropriate dosage as prescribed by their attending doctor. With medicine, it’s black and white. It’s either correct or it’s not. Mistakes can be costly, so the Pharmacy Technician must be someone who’s trained to always have a high attention to detail. There’s no margin for error here. If you choose this option, then jobs include working in a retail store that has a mini-pharmacy, a full-time position in a pharmacy, a long-term care facility or in a hospital.

As you can no doubt tell, not every job in a healthcare facility is that of a doctor or a nurse. There are many different positions that must be filled by professional, knowledgeable employees who can complete their assignments and fulfill their responsibilities successfully and consistently. Choosing the right career path for you within the healthcare industry is probably the hardest part. For that, you must go with your gut and what naturally interests you.