When an ultrasound is used to look at the heart, this activity falls under echocardiography. It's very important to have if you have problems with your heart, such as the narrowing of valves or blockage caused by plaque. Having one of these exams performed won't be difficult if you perform these actions.
Speak to a Cardiologist Prior to Scheduling
Before you schedule this heart examination, it's a good idea to find out for sure that it's needed. You wouldn't want to pay extra in premiums or deal with high out-of-pocket costs if an echo wasn't necessary or the right test based on problems you're experiencing.
You may already see a primary care physician, which is great because they can refer you to a cardiologist. You need to speak to this particular type of practitioner because they specialize in the heart and conditions related to it. They'll perform initial heart examinations and gain insights on heart health history to determine whether or not an echo is appropriate.
Have Particular Echo Type Broken Down
If a cardiologist does think it's a good idea to go forward with an echo, you will be recommended a particular type. There are a couple of options today, including stress test echocardiograms and transthoracic echocardiograms.
These tests will vary in equipment and the activities you're put through. For instance, a stress test echo will have you run on a treadmill while heart activity is studied. Have your cardiologist explain your exact test so that you're fully prepared and subsequently less anxious.
Use Information in a Meaningful Way
Once you find out the results from the particular echo that was recommended by a cardiologist, you'll be given results. Whatever they reveal, you need to use this information in a meaningful way. That will make this heart examination worth it in the end.
For instance, if it's revealed that you have some plaque buildup around some of your heart's arteries, then you might need to stick to a specialized diet and perhaps get more exercise. Fortunately, your cardiologist will be there to help you analyze these results and guide you along to the appropriate responses post-echo.
People can experience all sorts of heart-related problems, but echocardiography is available to help provide meaningful assessments and treatment plans. You just need to talk with a cardiologist and get on the same page with them every step of the way. Then you'll find out the answers you need to support heart health the right way.
Contact a local doctor if you have questions about echocardiography.