A study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that settling down to watch this weekend’s Super Bowl could be harmful to your health!
For the study, researchers from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany recorded the number of heart attacks, cardiac arrests and other acute cardiac events reported in the greater Munich region when the nation’s soccer team played in the 2006 World Cup series.
Over the course of the study, 4,729 patients were treated for heart-related ailments, with the number of incidences highest during the seven days when the German team played. After comparing these figures to similar periods in 2003 and 2005 – when Germany did not make the finals – the researchers determined that the 2006 rate was more than double the norm.
As was to be expected, acute cardiac events were highest in patients with a known history of coronary artery disease (occurring at roughly four times the normal rate), and were highest in men (which is a little sexist, but lets face it, how many women do you know that could work themselves into a heart attack over a game?)
Although the researchers concede that European soccer fans are generally more excitable than the average American football fan, they say the emotional nature of the game coupled with other indulgences – such as the abundance of junk food, alcohol and smoking – could increase the risk of a cardiac ailment.
Based on these findings, they suggest that “preventive measures [are] urgently needed to tackle this large and excessive risk, particularly for men with an existing heart condition,” and note that some physicians take it so far as to discourage heart patients from watching games in which they have a perceived emotional investment!
Our advice for staying healthy on Super Bowl Sunday? Nix the junk food, go easy on the brews, keep athletic high-fiving – and other forms of physical exertion – to a minimum, avoid screaming at the referees, and, last but not least, try to remember, IT’S JUST A GAME!!!
Seeding Chaos Flickr Photo (CC)