How should a person prepare for a stress test?

It’s important to take a few steps to prepare when you are going to have a stress test.

Before the test, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend that you:

  • Continue taking any medications unless your doctor recommends that you stop
  • Do not drink beverages with caffeine (including tea, coffee, and soda) or alcohol for at least three hours before the test
  • Do not smoke
  • In most cases, avoid all caffeine for 24 hours before the test, including drinks (even soda labeled caffeine free), chocolate, and pain relievers with caffeine in them
  • Talk to your doctor about any medicines that you take, including prescription, over-the-counter, herbs, and vitamins. You might be asked not to take them before the test
  • Tell your doctor if you have taken Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra (or any generic forms of these drugs) within 24 to 48 hours of the test
  • Wear comfortable shoes such as jogging shoes or tennis shoes
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes, such as shorts or sweatpants

You are allowed to drink water leading up to the test.

For more information about stress tests, talk with your doctor.

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