Cardiologists warn of possible increase in heart issues during Super Bowl

Friday, February 02, 2018 05:31PM
Cardiologists warn of increase in heart attacks during major sports events - Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5pm on February 2, 2018.


PHILADELPHIA - Some local doctors are warning about how high-stakes games like the Super Bowl can be dangerous for fans with heart disease.

And it's also National Wear Red Day. That's why I'm taking one day off from wearing green.

It's an effort to raise awareness about heart disease and to remind both men and women to know their risks.

Local cardiologists are also voicing their concerns about this weekend.

Cardiologist Vincent Figueredo remembers Super Bowl XXXIX very well, not just for his disappointment in seeing the Eagles lose, but also for what came afterward - spike in people admitted to Einstein Hospital for heart failure.

A similar consequence has been seen at emergency rooms worldwide.

"There's very well documented data across the world during major sporting events of increase in heart attacks, dangerous arrhythmias, and sudden death," he said.

Dr. Figueredo says these occur the day of the game, during the game and even two to three days after the game.

The excitement and especially tense moments, like a game that comes down to the wire, drives up adrenaline, making the heart work harder.

Add in too much alcohol, eating too much or eating heavy, greasy foods and the heart can become over-loaded.

People who already have heart disease are the most vulnerable, but so are people with risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

And even healthy hearts can get a workout--

In a new study with Canadian hockey fans, those at the game had heart rate increases of 110%. Even TV watchers sitting at home had a 75% rise. That's about equal to moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

"Excitement has consequences. It's like a stress test, just be careful, realize it's a game and try to enjoy it," said Dr. Figueredo.

Everyone wants to enjoy the game, but if you have heart disease or risk factors just try to keep your stress level down.

Maybe go for a walk before the game or at half-time. Limit your intake of greasy food and alcoho and listen to your body.

Even if it in the middle of the game, if you are having any signs of heart attack, you need to call 911 and get medical help.

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