You may be surprised that fitness is no guarantee of heart health and that arteries in your heart are in good shape. For instance, in recent years, I had an extremely fit patient come to see me for a stress test. At that time, he was training for an endurance event and by all accounts, he was in fantastic shape. Several years earlier we had scanned his heart and we found that he had a build-up of cholesterol in his arteries for which he was already receiving therapy. He had been training hard for the endurance event and he confided that he felt ready for the challenge.
Passing The Stress Test.
The reason for the timing of the stress test is that he routinely wore a heart rate monitor and he noticed that he was experiencing breathlessness when his heart rate approached 150 to 160 beats per minute. Nevertheless, when he undertook the stress test, he appeared as though he could keep running all day and that is exactly what he had been training to do.
As the treadmill progressively got faster, his heart rate increased and when he eventually hit 160 beats per minute, he was noticeably gasping for air. However, he did not experience chest pain and compared with many other patients, he seemed to be doing exceptionally well.