Does the Agony of Defeat Include a Heart Attack?

Dr. Steven Georgeson recently wrote an article for's Health and Wellness section titled Does the Agony of Defeat Include a Heart Attack?

Can a fan be so caught up in World Cup soccer that they have a heart attack? Can watching your football team in a tough, hard-fought, closely contested Super Bowl lead to sudden cardiac arrest? There are well known triggers to major cardiac events, but are sporting events one of them?

Many studies have shown that there is an increased risk for a cardiac event immediately after a trigger or stressor occurs. Triggers can be physical, chemical, psychosocial or environmental. Stressors typically will increase the heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the oxygen demand of the heart and leading to a heart attack. Stressors can cause the heart arteries to spasm (the artery closes down, reducing blood flow to the heart). A trigger will result in the release of several stress hormones including catecholamines (adrenaline) and cortisol, in addition to inflammatory proteins and procoagulants (substances which increase blood clotting in a heart artery). In addition, stress reactions destabilize the electrical activity of the heart, which can lead to deadly irregular rhythms and sudden cardiac arrest.

Read the full article on their website here.