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Soccer Matches Could Yield Serious Problems to Fans with Heart Disease!

Posted Apr 30 2009 1:07pm
Soccer (or football) is one of the most popular games in Europe. However, are you aware that watching a soccer match can actually strain a fan's heart? In other words, soccer fans with heart disease watching matches played by their supported team could have higher risk of getting serious heart problems.

A study carried out by German researchers found that the risk of having a heart attack or some other serious heart problems for German men were more than 3 times higher on days when their team played, while the risk for German women was 82 percent higher. The researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich studied the effects of matches during the 2006 World Cup and published their findings on January 30, 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the study, cardiac emergencies usually occurred within 2 hours of the start of the match. In fact, viewing a stressful soccer match was more than 2 times the risk of an acute cardiovascular event. Meanwhile, other emotionally turbulent sporting events could likely cause the same effect.

In order to gauge the impact, the German research team looked at 4,279 medical records from the 7 days the German team played, the 24 days when matches involved teams from other countries, and 242 other days in 2003,2005 and 2006.

The researchers only included in the tally those Germans who were found to have some form of heart problem. An increase in the number of cardiac emergencies over the number during the control period was noticed in 6 of the 7 games in which the German team participated.

As reported in the study, the largest number occurred during a quarterfinal held on June 30, 2006 in which Germany defeated Argentina in the dramatic penalty shoot-out. Almost as many heart attacks were found in the semi-final match that Italy beat German. On the other hand, Germany defeated Portugal in the match for third place produced no spike in heart-related problems.

The researchers concluded that it was the intense strain and excitement experienced during the viewing of a dramatic match, such as one with a penalty shoot-out, to trigger a stress-induced heart problem events rather than the outcome of a game.

As such, doctors are advised to increase the doses of some heart drugs for fans with heart disease and give these some behavioral therapy to cope with stress if a potentially intense sporting event looms.
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