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Super Bowl Stress Can Spark Heart Attacks
Date:2/5/2010

Investing too much emotion in the game can kill you, experts say,,

FRIDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- When the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts take the field for Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, emotions will be running high, so high that some fans can run the risk of a heart attack and even death.

The risk is real, cardiologists say, because studies have shown that when a favorite team loses, angry fans can suffer so much stress that the result is sudden cardiac death.

"If you look at a lot of data from a lot of different sports, there is a spectator risk," said Dr. Stephen Siegel, a cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center.

The best way to avoid this unhappy consequence is, "don't take it so seriously. Don't get so excited about it," he said. "Enjoy the game, have fun with it, but don't spend your life savings on betting on it and don't have your life invested in the outcome."

In one study, a team from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, led by Dr. Robert Kloner, director of research at the Heart Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital, looked at death rates in Los Angeles County on the day of two Super Bowls that had decidedly different outcomes for the home team: 1980, when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams, and 1984, when the Los Angeles Raiders beat the Washington Redskins.

The researchers also looked at death rates for the two weeks following each game. They then compared those statistics to death rates in the same county for the same period in the years between and after those Super Bowls. They found that all-cause death rates rose significantly after the 1980 loss, and death rates declined after the 1984 victory.

"If you are a very enthusiastic fan that gets emotionally involved in these games and jumps up and down and screams and really feels the emotion, and especially if you have coro
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