If you've just turned 50, you might have been thinking about getting a stress test to check your heart health. A surprising report in the Journal of the American Medical Association says you may not need to jump on the treadmill for a test if you appear to be in good health.
Instead, a new study of 3,500 people with no symptoms of heart disease found only those with the highest risk, based on factors like cholesterol and smoking history, benefited from the treadmill test.
"So, the message is that exercise testing is not for everyone. And in fact, for most symptomatic people, I would say there really is no value for the exercise test. It's really just a small group where the exercise test really provides value," says Dr. Michael Lauer, cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Lauer and his colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic launched this study after finding that about two to three million exercise stress tests are performed each year in the U.S., with about 10% of them, which means at least 200,000 of them, are given to folks who are showing no symptoms of heart disease.