Emotional stress can trigger heart racing and heart attack
At major sporting events, such as the Football World Cup, even people who are usually not keen on sports become fans of their national team. If your own team plays, sports pubs are sold out and fan miles are overcrowded.
But if even out-and-out sports grouches become football fans, how must it be for those for whom football is more than just the most beautiful thing in the world? And what does the excitement with their heart do when their own team plays for one of the top places, even in the penalty shoot-out at the end?
This is the question researchers have been pursuing, for example, during the 2006 World Cup in Germany to find out what the emotional stress means for the "fan heart". In the process, they came to some fascinating results.
Football can stress the fan heart
Especially when your own team is playing, the pulse and blood pressure of the fans go up. Peak values are reached when there is a penalty shoot-out. Then there is almost no difference between the player on the pitch and the fan in front of the screen.
If fans already have heart problems or pre-existing heart conditions, the risk of suffering cardiac arrhythmia or, in the worst case, even a heart attack increases almost fourfold during the game. But even without existing pre-existing conditions, three times as many patients had to be treated in clinics for heart problems during matches of the German national team, researchers from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich found out by evaluating emergency protocols1.
That this is not a purely German problem, however, was confirmed by British researchers who analysed the 1998 England v. Argentina final2.
Poor nutrition increases the risk
The heart risk caused by emotional stress is increased by the food and drink consumed during such events. Lots of chips, bratwurst and too much alcohol can also lead to increased blood pressure, which can then set an unpleasant spiral in motion in the most exciting moments.
What to do preventively
If previous illnesses and your own emotional state are known, you can of course decide for yourself in the first step whether you actually have to watch the game and thus consciously increase your heart risk.
If switching off is not an alternative, you should check with a doctor before an obviously particularly exciting game to see if you can prevent the game by taking a blood pressure reducer. And if you notice during the game that your blood pressure is going up, you should switch off for a moment, put your legs up, breathe evenly and try to relax.
It is also advisable to avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and eating fatty foods during the game if possible.
If you want to be on the safe side, you can monitor your heart health during a game with CardioSecur Active. In just three steps, the smartphone becomes a mobile ECG that provides results throughout the game. By displaying a recommendation for action after each measurement, you know immediately whether the game is possibly a bit too exciting for you.
You can find out exactly how CardioSecur Active works here.