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Super Bowl Stress Causes Heart Attacks

Football fans put their hearts on the line every single time their favorite team vies for a title at the Super Bowl – literally.

According to a Los Angeles-based study, highly dedicated fans seem to have trouble dealing with the emotional stress of watching their favorite football lose the biggest game of all. They have so much trouble dealing with it, in fact, that a very noticeable bump in cardiac-related deaths occurs around Super Bowl time.

The report, which appears in the journal Clinical Cardiology, states:

"Physicians and patients should be aware that stressful games might elicit an emotional response that could trigger a cardiac event," lead author Dr. Robert A. Kloner, of the Heart Institute, Good Samaritan Hospital and Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said in a journal news release. "Stress reduction programs or certain medications might be appropriate in individual cases."

To come to their conclusions, Kloner and his colleagues analyzed cardiac-related death rates during two championship games. The 1980 Super Bowl when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Rams, and the 1984 Super Bowl when the Los Angeles Raiders beat the Washington Redskins were utilized for the study.

In the instance when the Steelers lost to the Rams, there was a 15 percent hike in all circulatory deaths among men in the L.A. area. Among women, there was a 27 percent bump. The rises were more so noted among older Los Angeles country residents than the younger ones.

On the other hand, in the 1984 Raiders win there was a drop in heart-related death rates.

So what causes the sudden spike in cardiac-related deaths around Super Bowl time? Above all else, it appears to be the levels of stress incurred during the games. A smaller factor, though, is the abuse of junk food during the event coupled with poor conditions in which the game is being watched.

What does all this mean for Steelers and Packers fans come Sunday? Well, let’s just say, they should probably watch just how much they yell at the television. And, of course, carrot sticks instead of pizza wouldn’t hurt either.


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