Saturday, February 6, 2010
Don't Get Too Stressed Watching the Super Bowl
Are you ready for this? Experts say that getting too riled up can wreak havoc. In fact, some say it can kill you. While on the face of it, this news seems a bit crazy, the research is rather convincing. We know high stress plays a role in elevated levels of all things bad for you. Add to this all the eating of wings, chips and other artery thickening products, not to mention the beer and other libations. If you are already at risk (especially if you don't know it), the formula can be disastrous as you scream, jump and otherwise feel large amounts of anger about the emerging results on Super Bowl Sunday.
"Spectator risk," Dr. Stephen Siegel, a cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, calls it. The study took place at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
The big advice from those who published this study that looked not only at Super Bowl results in the 1980s, but at 2006 World Soccer cup results (and if you think we get excited about our sports here in the U.S., you don't know from excitement and emotion that the rest of the world experiences about soccer) is to relax and enjoy the game. "Don't spend your life savings on betting on it!" The incidences of heart attacks, and fatal ones at that, increased in the hours and days immediately following those events.
As for the science of it all, researchers say that the body releases large amounts of catecholamines (also called epinephrine and norepinephrine) into the bloodsteam at times of stress. "These chemicals can trigger atherosclerotic plaques to rupture, resulting in an acute heart attack or can trigger life-threatening arrhythmias resulting in sudden cardiac death," he said. "Individuals with preexisting heart conditions and those with risk factors for heart disease are at increased risk for such events," says Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
So, as you gather round the TV this Sunday, do some deep breathing first and remember that it is just a game, at least for most of us. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have a bit more skin in the game, so they can be forgiven for having high levels of stress at kickoff time (4:25 MT).
Tell us about how invested you get in Super Bowl. Are you feeling palpitations? Or are you among the millions who don't care one bit.