What Does an EKG Test For? banner

By westgate June 24, 2020

What Does an EKG Test For?

If your doctor recommends that you have an EKG (electrocardiogram), you can take heart that your doctor is looking out for your heart health. An EKG is performed to measure the electrical activity and beats of your heart in order to diagnose conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Blocked artery
  • Cardiomyopathy (thick or oversized areas)
  • Heart valve problems
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue around the heart)
  • Electrolyte imbalance (particles of potassium, magnesium and calcium in your body)
  • And other types of heart problems

An EKG may be ordered if you are experiencing any symptoms of heart problems such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Blocked artery
  • Chest tightness

You may be at greater risk for heart problems if you have a family history of heart disease, have high cholesterol or blood pressure, are diabetic, smoke or have gum disease. Certain medications such as beta-blockers can also affect your heart rate.

Is it a Heart Attack?

The symptoms above may also indicate a heart attack – especially if accompanied by sweating, nausea/vomiting and weakness. If you feel like your chest is being squeezed or crushed, call 911 immediately. Any irregular feelings in your chest/heart should be checked out by your doctor as quickly as possible. Listen to what your body is telling you and know and remember that time is of the essence when it comes to heart health. 

Is an EKG Painful?

The good news is that EKG tests are painless. Your doctor will place 12-15 sticky electrodes in different areas around your chest, legs and arms. These electrodes are attached to long tubes that are connected to a portable machine. The electrodes measure the electrical activity from your body and record the impulses from your heart. You just relax and allow the machine to measure the activity happening within your body.

The EKG readings allow your doctor to see how long it takes an electrical wave to pass through your heart and the amount of electrical activity that is occurring. All of this information is used to diagnose different heart conditions.

The doctors at Westgate Family Physicians perform EKGs in Spartanburg, SC. If you are experiencing any of the heart problem symptoms listed above, we encourage you to schedule an appointment right away. Our team will ask you questions about your symptoms and may recommend an EKG or other tests to assess your heart health. To request an appointment, contact us at (864) 574-0070 or click here.