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Super Bowl Fans Should Heed Heart Risk Finding
Date:1/30/2008

German study found higher chances of cardiovascular trouble during 2006 World Cup matches,,

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- If you plan on watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, you might want to stay cool and calm if the referee makes a bad call, especially if you have known risk factors for heart disease.

New research suggests that when serious sports fans are watching their team play in a big game, they face more than twice the risk of suffering a heart attack. While the study focused on the 2006 World Cup soccer matches in Germany, American football fans would be wise to take note of the findings.

"Viewing a stressful soccer match more than doubles the risk of an acute cardiovascular event," wrote the German researchers who conducted the study. "In view of this excess risk, particularly in men with known coronary heart disease, preventive measures are urgently needed."

Does this mean American football fans should give up watching Sunday's showdown between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants?

It depends on whom you ask.

Dr. Stephen Siegel, a cardiologist at New York University Medical Center, said fans just need to remember it's only a game. "It's a game and it's great to be involved and excited, it just needs to be toned down. Don't let your emotions get the better of you," he advised.

While some doctors might recommend people with known risk factors or a history of heart disease skip the stress of watching the game, Dr. Shukri David, chief of cardiology at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., said he thinks the stress of not witnessing an important game could be just as harmful for some people.

For the study, published in the Jan. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the German researchers compared the number of cardiac events that occurred during World Cup matches held between June 9, 2006, and July 9, 2006, to three contr
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