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How do you survive a chemical stress test?

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Quick Answer

To complete and survive a chemical stress test, avoid caffeine 24 hours before the test, take the test on an empty stomach and know which medications should not be taken prior to the test. In addition, if you're sedentary, try to increase physical activity slightly in advance, says Cleveland Clinic.

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Caffeine puts a person at risk of experiencing an irregular heartbeat during a chemical stress test, notes Cleveland Clinic. Avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, decaffeinated drinks and other drinks containing caffeine as caffeine increases the body’s heart rate and blood pressure. Also avoid over-the-counter drugs with caffeine content, such as headache medications and diet pills.

Doctors also recommend having an empty stomach when going through a stress test as it promotes safety while exercising and allows a person to be active for a longer period, says Cleveland Clinic. If the stress test is scheduled right away in the morning, do not eat anything after midnight. Avoid eating foods within four to six hours prior to a test scheduled for a later time during the day.

Ask a cardiologist about the appropriate medicines to take before the stress test as some medications can excessively decrease the heart rate, states Cleveland Clinic. Do not take beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and nitroglycerin drugs. Doctors also often advise diabetics to take half their morning dose of diabetes medication and to eat a small meal four hours before the test. Finally, slightly increase your activity level days before the test if you're normally sedentary. Sedentary individuals who haven’t exercised for months may not be allowed to walk on a treadmill.

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