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Low-risk women can skip the treadmill stress test

by Margery Gass | Jul 30, 2012
Thinking about starting an exercise program? You don’t have to have an electrocardiogram (ECG) or a treadmill stress test if you’re not at risk of heart disease and you don’t have symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest pains, according to an expert US government panel. Late in July, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a recommendation against routine ECG testing. 

“At risk” is the key. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, for example, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association say that an ECG may be reasonable, even if you don’t have symptoms. They also say it may be appropriate for women with intermediate heart disease risk and no symptoms who want to start a vigorous, high-impact exercise program.

If you are unsure about your risk for heart disease, check with your provider.

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