Football can be stressful
While some people would say football is just a game, for diehard fans, there is nothing more important than seeing their team or national side win. So much so that footballer supporters are putting themselves at risk of a heart attack as their stress levels can get so high.
This is according to a study from the University of Oxford, which examined the spit samples of 41 Brazil fans before and after the 2014 World Cup matches.
The findings, published in the journal Stress and Health, revealed levels of cortisol – the ‘stress hormone’ – surged in the semi-final, when Brazil lost 7-1 to Germany.
Dr Martha Newson, researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion at Oxford, said: “Fans who are strongly fused with their team – that is, have a strong sense of being ‘one’ with their team – experience the greatest physiological stress response when watching a match.”
She added: “Fans who are more casual supporters also experience stress, but not so extremely.”
Dr Newson recommended clubs offer heart screenings to their biggest supporters, as they could have health complications from watching their team get defeated.
Indeed, when levels of the hormone cortisol are high for a prolonged period of time, this can cause blood pressure to rise, blood vessels to constrict, and put pressure on the heart if it is already weak. Therefore, it can increase the chance of developing a heart attack among the most devoted supporters.
While nothing can make your team win other than good players and a tactical manager, those who suffer from stress would benefit from having a course of treatment, including Acupuncture. This ancient treatment has been shown to be effective at reducing stress levels, enabling fans to watch games without causing damage to their hearts.