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Super Bowl stress can trigger heart attack and deaths

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Heart attack risk

Super Bowl home team losses can lead to significant stress that in turn causes heart attacks and death.

According to researchers, the stress of viewing a home team loss increased the chances of heart attack in both genders and older adults, found in a comparative analysis.

In a study published in the journal Clinical Cardiology and conducted by Good Samaritan Hospital and Keck School of Medicine at USC in Los Angeles, researchers looked at the emotional stress experienced during Super Bowl, using regression models comparing the number of cardiac deaths during the 1980 Los Angeles Super Bowl loss and for the1984 Los Angeles Super Bowl win.

They specifically found an increased number of cardiac deaths from heart related events associated with the Super Bowl loss in 1980, that occurred in men and women, as well as older and younger patients.

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Conversely, winning was associated with fewer cardiac deaths in older individuals and women.

Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD, of the Heart Institute who led the study says, "Physicians and patients should be aware that stressful games might elicit an emotional response that could trigger a cardiac event. Stress reduction programs or certain medications might be appropriate in individual cases."

In the study, there was a 15 percent increase in cardiac related deaths among men, associated with losing, and a 27 percent increase in heart related events in women from Super Bowl team losses. In older adults, circulatory heart related events increased 22 percent. The risk of heart attack and other related cardiac events was directly linked to emotional stress of watching a home team loss.

Clinical Cardiology: DOI: 10.1002/clc.20876
"Role of Age, Sex, and Race on Cardiac and Total Mortality Associated With Super Bowl Wins and Losses"