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Can watching the Super Bowl affect your heart?


Fans all over the world will be tuned in for the Super Bowl on Sunday, but can watching the Super Bowl affect your heart? MU Health cardiologist Dr. Brian Bostick says yes.

According to the American Heart Association, die-hard sports fans are at risk for cardiac events, typically those who have a history of heart disease. The strong emotions of a game could be linked to harmful cardiovascular effects, such as increase blood pressure and heart rate. And to a large extent, fans of the losing team, as shown in a 2021 report from Current Problems in Cardiology.

"Stress of a big football game such as the Super Bowl can affect the heart," Bostick said.

For any sports fan that watches their team lose in the Super Bowl, that can generate an excessive amount of stress that can effects fans physically and mentally. According to the American Heart Association, a study from 2009 looked at heart-related deaths in a two week span following two Super Bowls involving teams from Los Angeles. Researchers discovered death rates went up after a Rams loss in 1980, many due to heart attacks and coronary heart disease.

Bostick says if fans find their team on the losing end of a Super Bowl, it's best to remove yourself from the situation, focus on your breathing, your mindfulness.

"To really relax your body can be an important part of your recovery from a tough loss," Bostick said.

However, just like how a loss can negatively effect your heart, a Super Bowl can have positive affects. Also reported from the 2009 study, in 1984, death rates from those causes declined after a Raiders Super Bowl win.

Another risk factor that could be bigger than the stress of the game is the food and drinks fans consume.

"Another big risk factor is high salt, high sodium foods," Bostick said. "So I think it's really important to make healthy choices, make choices in moderation, to really limit your salt intake, because that can really raise your blood pressure race."

Alcohol can also increase blood pressure so Bostick recommends no more than one or two alcoholic drinks.

It is encouraged that fans make a plan to cut down stress factors outside of watching the Super Bowl. That plan can include limiting alcohol and fatty food intake, spending less time on social media and avoid placing bets on the game.

Article Topic Follows: Super Bowl 2024

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Jazsmin Halliburton


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