Doctors advise caution to heart patients while watching football

For football fans, the World Cup should be a time of fun with family and friends. But beware, experts say, it can also sicken or even kill you. Most at risk are patients with known coronary artery disease, it said, or those who find themselves in particularly stressful circumstances

Doctors advise caution to heart patients while watching football

Football fever has taken over the country, as FIFA World Cup 2018 is in progress. While everyone is rooting for their favourite team or player, doctors have advised caution while watching football matches which can easily get viewers nervous or over-excited.

Any excitement can trigger a sudden rise in catacolamin (adrenalin) levels in blood. A sudden adrenalin rush leads to high blood pressure and heart rate since the heart starts pumping faster.

Many a football fan may have shouted at the TV that they ‘nearly had a heart attack’ when their team missed a shot at goal or let an opposing player through to score.

High-profile sporting events like the FIFA World Cup lead to a rise in the number of sudden cardiac arrests.

Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Vijay Surase, a heart specialist from Thane, said, “Fans with a weak heart are most vulnerable. Not only football, but any other sport in which the viewer is emotionally involved can lead to a mental exertion for them. While reacting to the match as it unfolds on TV, stress levels are on the rise and this can affect health, by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure.”

He added, “Over-excitement can not only cause mood swings, but can also increase the chances of having an asthma attack or heart attack. Sudden mood changes can be dangerous and add to mental stress.”

Dr Nagesh Waghmare Patil, consulting intervention cardiologist at Bombay Hospital and associate professor at Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, said, “While  watching football, people are immersed in the game, this lead to a rise blood pressure and increased mental tension. There is a possibility of heart failure. If there is loud noise on TV during the match, people with heart disease may get startled and have a cardiac arrest. But, it happens very rarely. Therefore, while watching the match, fans should keep a control on their emotions. Moreover, those who are suffering from heart problems should probably avoid watching the match.”

In conclusion Dr Surase advises, “People should not get carried away with their emotions while watching the match, avoid over-reacting and accept whatever happens during the match. Acceptance helps calm the mind. To regain composure one can meditate, try pranayama or take few deep breaths to relax yourself.”