How do I prepare for a stress test?

Your doctor, hospital or imaging center will provide you with instructions on preparing for your specific type of stress test, but here are some general guidelines and points to consider:
Dress in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing suitable for exercising, including a short-sleeved shirt that is easy to remove. Wear comfortable athletic or walking shoes. Women should wear a well-fitting bra, but not a body shaper or a girdle.
Your doctor will probably ask you not to eat or drink for an hour or more before the test. Ask whether you should avoid coffee and other sources of caffeine, and for how long (12 to 24 hours in some cases).
For smokers: Do not smoke for several hours before the test. Ask your doctor how long to avoid cigarettes.
Ask whether you should take your usual medications before the test, including over-the-counter medications.
If you are diabetic who takes insulin, ask your doctor whether you should adjust your food intake and insulin dose before the stress test. Be sure to bring a healthy snack to eat afterward, in case your blood sugar drops as a result of exercising.
If you have asthma or another breathing condition, bring your inhaler with you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.