High-stakes match-ups happen in sports all the time — from the NHL’s Stanley Cup to the CFL’s Grey Cup, and grand slam tennis. Now, with the NFL Super Bowl just seven days away, medical professionals are warning that all that over-excitement could actually have an impact on your health — and not in a good way.
According to a study published by the Canadian Journal of Cardiology just last year, it showed that the pulses of 20 participants increased anywhere from 75 to 110 percent when watching major sporting events, which is equivalent to the heart rate response that one would get from partaking in vigorous exercise. Watching high-stakes sports such as the ones mentioned above can cause a sudden increase of adrenaline, which can cause stress on the heart and lead to other serious health concerns such as high blood pressure, says Philadelphia-based cardiologist Dr. Vincent Figueredo. Previous studies, such as one published in The BMJ, have also documented heart-related events in correlation with high-stakes sports, as well as surprising increases in life-threatening arrhythmia and heart failure.
While these findings shouldn’t stop you from watching sports, Vancouver family physician Dr. Ali Ghahary says there are certain precautionary measures one can take to keep their overall stress and anxiety at bay. You can find different tips on how to combat that stress and anxiety by clicking here. In some cases the anxiety you experience may not even be related to sports or any other common triggers; it is also often one of the first indicators that you may have an underlying health condition that is contributing to it — things like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, respiratory disorders, IBS, chronic pain, and withdrawal from drugs and/or alcohol have all been linked to anxiety. If you have no previous history of anxiety as well as no family history, and find that you’re not going out of your way to avoid certain situations out of fear that you will become anxious, then looking into any of these potential underlying conditions is something you should strongly consider speaking to your primary healthcare practitioner about.
On the contrary, it’s also good to know about the risk factors that are associated with anxiety. Things like stress build-up, trauma, and other mental health disorders can all increase your risk of developing anxiety. It’s also not uncommon to experience things like depression, substance abuse, insomnia, social isolation, and thoughts of suicide as a result of anxiety — so regardless of whatever it is that’s making you feel anxious, it’s important to get it addressed right away. Like many other health conditions, early prevention is key when it comes to any kind of mental health concerns, as anxiety can be much more difficult to treat the longer you wait.
Originally published at alighahary.ca on January 28, 2018.