February is American Heart Month – a time where we pause to acknowledge the millions of families that are impacted by heart disease each and every year. Heart disease is a huge issue globally but particularly here in America, accounting for more than 25% of all deaths and remaining the leading cause of death in the country.
Part of the problem is that there are a large number of conditions that can specifically affect the heart, ranging from things like coronary artery disease to genetic abnormalities, infection, and more. Risk factors like high cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise, and excessive drinking can also up the ante, putting many Americans at risk for heart disease regardless of their age.
While we work with our patients year round to minimize their risk factors, help them follow proper nutrition guidelines, and enforce healthy lifestyle habits, we’re also proactive in ensuring that patients take the appropriate preventative screening measures necessary to catch signs of heart disease early while corrective treatment actions can still be taken. One of the key procedures we use to do this (in addition to things like routine blood work and blood pressure monitoring) is an electrocardiogram, and today we’re going to walk you through a little more about what an EKG is and how it works!
What Is An EKG?
Electrocardiography is a medical procedure involving electrical voltage that evaluates the heart’s ability to pump and supply blood to the body. The physical procedure produces a graph called an electrocardiogram (also called an EKG or ECG) that displays the voltage over time for a patient’s regular heartbeats. The patterns that emerge on the EKG can alert physicians to an internal problem that warrants investigation. Since the images produced from an EKG should be a particular shape to be in the normal range of function, any deviation from this standard can tell a doctor a lot about how your heart is performing at rest and during strenuous activity.
What Are EKGs Used For?
Since an EKG detects the electrical impulses generated naturally by the heart’s biological pacemaker, the machine’s output can be used to infer the function of the muscle itself. Electrocardiograms routinely help diagnose multiple kinds of heart disease like atrial fibrillation, premature contractions, arrhythmias, tachycardia, bradycardia, blockages, ischemia, and infarctions (to name a few). The heart is a very electromagnetically-active organ, so deviations from standard function are usually quite apparent on an EKG.
What Happens During An EKG?
Although it may sound intimidating, EKG’s are a very routine type of procedure and completely non-invasive! During the procedure electrodes will be placed on your chest; these discs detect electrical impulses generated by your heart’s biological pacemaker, a collection of specialized muscle cells in the upper right segment of your heart. For a duration of time and under any number of circumstances – walking, resting, lying, standing, or running – the technician will record the impulses that the EKG detects. When the test is over, your results will be reviewed by a specialist.
Where Can I Get An EKG In Orlando?
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of heart disease, have a family history of heart disease, or simply want to learn more about heart disease prevention, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us to sit down and talk through your risk factors and your screening options! Based on the scope of your symptoms and your unique medical history our doctors can help determine whether an EKG or any other types of testing may be necessary.
If you do end up needing one, we provide EKG testing right here at our office, so you don’t have to worry about paying to visit another facility or going through this process alone! Not only are EKGs included free of charge within our patients’ monthly membership services, if we find anything suspect, she can discuss your case and results directly with a cardiologist to potentially save you a trip to a specialist or take a first step toward a full diagnosis.
Take your heart health into your own hands and contact us at Optimum Direct Care today!