Close to 85 million Americans experience cardiovascular disease every year, and many of them don’t experience symptoms until it’s too late. At Maryland Cardiology Associates, the expert cardiologists offer comprehensive preventive options for people living in or around Greenbelt, Maryland. Electrocardiograms, or EKGs, are a method of choice to identify any potential issues with your heart health. Call or book online today for an EKG appointment to stay on top of health.

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What is an EKG?

An EKG, short for electrocardiogram, is a diagnostic test that tracks the electric signals that cause your heart to beat.

Your cardiologist at Maryland Cardiology Associates may recommend an EKG if you have a history of heart problems or if you have experienced any of the following symptoms recently:

  • Palpitations
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

With an EKG, your cardiologist can identify whether you suffer from a series of heart-related issues. However, the most common disease it identifies is coronary heart disease, the condition that causes partial blockages in your blood vessels.

How does an EKG work?

Electrocardiograms are simple, painless, risk-free, and quick. Generally speaking, an EKG doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete.

During the test, your cardiologist attaches 12 electrodes to your chest, legs, and arms to record your heart activity from different vantage points. These electrodes immediately produce an image of how your blood moves through the body.

EKGs are an excellent way of flagging cardiovascular conditions. They may also inform your cardiologist of any abnormalities, such as:

  • Abnormal heart structure
  • Abnormal heart thickness
  • Hypertension-related heart enlargement
  • Abnormal electrolyte levels
  • Irregular, fast, or slow heartbeat
  • Signs of an undetected heart attack

The sooner you book an EKG if you suspect a heart condition, the faster your cardiologist can recommend appropriate treatment and protection from potentially harmful heart-related conditions.

What does an abnormal EKG mean?

Unlike its name suggests, an abnormal EKG could still fall within the realms of normalcy. For instance, your cardiologist might tell you that your results were abnormal if your heart exhibits a rhythm variation that isn’t harmful.

Nonetheless, an abnormal EKG could indicate a medical emergency, including a harmful arrhythmia or heart attack.

Should I prepare for an EKG?

EKGs are easy and commonplace, so you don’t need to worry about specific preparations in the days leading up to your exam at Maryland Cardiology Associates. Drink and eat normally on the day of your test.

The one aspect to keep in mind is that your cardiologist attaches sticky electrodes to your skin, so avoid using moisturizers or anything that may prevent the electrodes from sticking correctly.

Let your cardiologist know of any medication you are taking in the event that they may interfere with the test’s smooth functioning.

Learn more about what EKGs can do for you by scheduling an appointment online or calling Maryland Cardiology Associates today.