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Are You Made of the "Right Stuff" or What the Heck is a Heart Stress Test

Last week I had a heart stress test when my doctor thought it was a good idea. I did have a humorous moment as I thought of the movie, "The Right Stuff" about the first astronauts and the physical exam process that NASA put them through before they were cleared for training. I can still laugh about it many years later as the scenes run through my mind.


But this was different as I was not ready for this idea as a guy who flew for 30 years and kept fit to pass those flight physicals and PT tests. I work out hard and frequently; but, maybe enjoyed the retired life a bit more on the end of a fork than I should have on occasion.


When the doc suggested it, I was bit concerned but even more than I imagined on the day of the test. This was like the big math test or flight evaluation; but obviously more important because it was going to measure how my heart was functioning and ultimately what impact that could have on lifestyle, activities I enjoy and time to wrestle with the grandkids, etc.


Well fortunately for me all those workouts and healthy lifestyle resulted in a "normal" rating and I could smile about it. The nurses and techs were great; made me feel comfortable and even commented that I was doing well as I went past the normal length of time on the treadmill, etc. The treadmill is sped up and the angle of elevation increased every minute and they put in a dye type of material via IV to see how your heart does while being strained (they xray it before and after the workout). In addition, I had a million lines (at least!) attached to my chest to do different measurements during the test.


Do you have a parent or someone you know who is having or had a heart stress test? Sometimes a word of encouragement or just asking how it went could help them feel better. Encourage them to find time to workout, control the diet and avoid too much fast food and listen to their doctor. If you are a parent, the health of the next generation is critical and we need to insure they get their veggies, have time to get outside and run and/or participate in youth sports. What they do as a young person sets a standard for adulthood and may prevent a need for a stress test early in life or one with abnormal results and a resultant lifestyle change that may limit what they can do and enjoy.


How about yourself? Are you finding the time to take a walk, workout in some manner including gardening, around the house projects, landscaping or walking the mall or meeting a friend for a trip to the gym or play a bit of chase the kids around the park? Sometimes while taking care of others we forget to take care of ourselves! Do you have any ideas for helping someone stay on course with their workouts, easy ways to get it done or new methods? Let us all know; we sure can use the help!

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