Cardiovascular diseases are by far the leading cause of death globally, resulting in almost 700,000 deaths in the United States alone in 2020 according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cardiovascular diseases are also a main cause of disabilities. Fortunately, there are many ways to protect yourself against it. A healthy diet and regular exercise are essential, and there are medical tests and treatments to help too. For instance, Holter monitoring allows you, and your physician, to track your heart’s rhythm and detect arrythmias without being in the hospital or clinic. Southern Maryland Medical Group is proud to offer Holter monitor treatment.
A Holter monitor test is essentially a portable electrocardiogram. It is a small, wearable device about the size of a small camera. It monitors and records the patient’s heart rhythm and is used to detect and determine the risk of irregular heartbeats. This battery powered device can work continuously for 24 to 48 hours depending on the type of Holter monitor test used.
Regular electrocardiograms allow the doctor to monitor your heart’s activity during a short period of time, generally about 5 to 10 minutes. However, some abnormal heart activity is spontaneous and sporadic, meaning it might not show up on a regular electrocardiogram appointment. This is why your doctor may want to track your heartbeat over a longer period of time. Of course, a night at the hospital is going to cost a lot. The cost-effective alternative is a Holter monitor.
A Holter monitor does not pose any risks or cause serious pain. Because the Holter monitor attaches small discs, or electrodes, to your chest with an adhesive, they can cause mild skin irritation. Tell your doctor or technician about any allergies to tapes or adhesives.
For the same reason, you can expect to have chest hair shaved so that electrodes make direct contact with your skin. Also, make sure to shower BEFORE your appointment because you cannot shower or bathe with the Holter monitor on your body. Further, stay away from high-voltage areas and do NOT have X-rays while wearing the monitor.
You should also keep a diary of your activity and symptoms. For example, jot a note if you feel shortness of breath, chest pain, or uneven heartbeats. This will help the doctor hone in on cases. Your technician or doctor will go through all the specific details and things you need to know during your appointment.
If you have a family history of heart disease and you have some of the following signs and symptoms, then it might be time to schedule an appointment with your doctor:
A Holter monitor may be right for you if you experience these issues randomly and intermittently. Call Southern Maryland Medical Group to schedule a physical or virtual appointment with a board-certified physician today.
Southern Maryland Medical Group has 3 convenient locations to provide professional medical care services in the Southern Maryland area. Call or schedule an appointment with one of our locations to get medical care help.