It’s Super Bowl Time…Control Your Excitement

SYoung Health Guide
  • I look forward to Super Bowl Sunday every year, not just because I am a big fan of the game but also because of all the excitement and anticipation that the biggest game of the year brings. I know a lot of Steelers fans (there sure seem to be a lot in the DC area) and some Packers fans too (my old roommate from college - who went to high school in Racine, WI - must be busting from excitement) and will not pick a winner, but just hope for a great game.

     

    But keep an eye out for the downside of all the excitement that a Super Bowl game brings. As I mentioned in one of my blogs back in June, too much excitement during a sporting event can have some real negative consequences on your heart. Some sports fans may get heavily emotionally involved when rooting for their favorite team, and especially if that team loses, stress levels can soar causing a heart attack in many.

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    Researchers in California recently looked at data on death rates for Los Angeles County around the time of two separate Super Bowls (Super Bowl XIV in Pasadena in 1980, where the Los Angeles Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers; and XVIII in Tampa in 1984 - incidentally, the last championship won by my Raiders) and found that the 1980 loss was associated with a 15% increase in all circulatory deaths for men, but a 27% increase in women. The 1984 Raider win over the Redskins did not show an increase in total death rates.

     

    The study, which has been published in the journal Clinical Cardiology, did find that the intensity of the game may have played a big part in the amount of stress felt by fans - the 1980 game was tight up until the fourth quarter with several lead changes, while the 1984 game was pretty much over at halftime.

     

    Just remember that if you do suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any other heart-related illness, too much stress and excitement will put much more pressure on your poor heart to perform. Bottom line... don't take the game so darn seriously. It is just a game (unless you've put some serious money on it) and whether a win or loss, both teams have achieved a fantastic goal just by reaching this game, something all fans should be proud of.

Published On: February 02, 2011