The heart is without a doubt one of the most important organs in our bodies, without it, we simply cannot survive. This incredible organ creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles every day, which in a lifetime is equivalent to driving to the moon and back! (1)
Along with taking heart disease preventative measures like eating healthy and exercising, there is another way to check-up on the health of your heart and that is to get an electrocardiogram (commonly referred to as an EKG or ECG) as part of your yearly health screening.
What is a EKG?
An EKG is a test that uses small electrode patches attached to the skin of your chest, arms and legs to record the electrical activity of your heart.
THE TOP 10
1) 10 Minutes of your time for peace of mind.
An EKG only takes about 10 minutes of your time, that is 0.69% of your day to devote to checking up on the most important part of your body.
2) Pain free.
EKGs are painless and do not send electricity into your body, so if you are one to avoid testing due to the pain involved, you have nothing to worry about here.
3) Find your rate.
EKGs allow identification of an unusually fast heart rate (tachycardia) or an unusually slow heart rate (bradycardia).
4) Find your rhythm.
Even if you can’t keep a beat on the dance floor, your heart is an expert at rhythm if it is working properly. An EKG can reveal heart rhythm irregularities (arrhythmias) which may occur when any part of the heart’s electrical system doesn’t function properly.
5) Find your flow.
Blood flow, that is. An EKG can detect poor blood flow to the heart (this is called ischemia).
6) Eclipse of the heart.
An EKG can reveal evidence of a past heart attack or one that is currently in progress. It can also show which parts of your heart have been damaged and to what extent.
An EKG can provide clues about enlargement of the chambers or walls of the heart, heart defects and other heart problems.
8) Walk before you run.
Exercise is good for your heart, but it is generally a good idea to get an EKG before starting a new exercise program or if you are looking at getting active again after a long period of inactivity.
9) Poppin’ pills.
An EKG can reveal if certain medicines you are taking are abnormally affecting your heart function.
10) Pre-existing conditions.
An EKG is an effective tool to check the health of your heart when other conditions or diseases are present, like high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or cigarette smoking.
11 – BONUS) Happy heart, happy wallet.
Your wallet doesn’t have to suffer for the happiness of your heart. America’s ER celebrates Heart Health Month during the month of February and offers $25 adult heart health screenings and $25 pediatric cardiac arrest risk assessments. Best part is, we are open 24/7/365 and no appointment is required.
As you can see, there are many benefits to getting a EKG, however, there are also a few limitations to be aware of as well. An EKG may come back as normal even if there is an underlying heart condition. This is because at the time of the EKG the patient may not be displaying any symptoms of their heart condition, resulting in normal results. Therefore, it is important to discuss with your doctor if you have the following symptoms as an EKG may be a great place to start, but you may also need additional testing such as a stress test, where your heart is monitored under some type of stress, like jogging or other types of exercise.
• Heart palpitations
• Rapid pulse
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Dizziness, lightheadedness or confusion
• Weakness, fatigue or a decline in ability to exercise
If your EKG does come back abnormal, it will be recommended that you follow up with a heart specialist at that time. Know your risk and keep the beat with America’s ER, come visit us anytime at the corner of FM 2978 and Research Forest Dr., next to Target in Magnolia!
(1) Avraham, Regina. The Circulatory System. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2000.