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Tests You’re Not Having That Could Save Your Life

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Michael McCloskey 2007

Think a stress test and a simple blood workup are all you need to assess your heart attack risk? Wrong. If you haven’t had these cutting-edge screenings, put this magazine down and call your doctor. Now.

Your physician has you come in to his office and run on a treadmill while you’re hooked up to an EKG. For the next 8 to 12 minutes, he’ll evaluate your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure as the intensity of the workout increases. When the stress test is over, he’ll tell you whether you have coronary artery disease.

Here’s news that might make your heart skip a beat: For women, there’s a 35% chance the test results will be wrong.

Most often, the test reveals false positives, meaning healthy women are told they have heart disease. Less frequently but obviously far more dangerous is when the test fails to detect clogged arteries that could, in fact, cause a heart attack. Fewer men are misdiagnosed.

Possible reason for the gender gap: Phases of the menstrual cycle and birth control pills have been shown to throw off results, indicating that estrogen’s effects on heart cells might be a factor.

Read more here at MSN.com

http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100268995

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