Will the Super Bowl raise your risk of a heart attack? Researchers say it’s possible

People in city hosting the game most at risk

Could watching the Super Bowl actually raise your risk of suffering a heart attack? Researchers say the “Super Bowl Spike” is a real thing.

So, who’s most at risk? For fans already at higher risk for heart problems, all that excitement and overindulging can push them over the edge, according to cardiologist Dr. Nicholas Ruthmann.

Read: What’s the best way to watch the big game?

“Those who have high blood pressure, those with high cholesterol, diabetes, if you smoke, if you drink too much, you’re overweight,” Ruthmann said. “All of that can come together and form a perfect storm and increase your risk on the big day of the big game for a heart attack then.”

It’s not just American football. A similar effect has also been seen in Europe during World Cup games. So what should a passionate fan do?

Ruthmann recommends taking a timeout when the players do. If you’re getting too worked up, walk away for a bit. Drink plenty of water, limit alcohol and be mindful of how much unhealthy food you’re eating.

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“If you do feel symptoms of a potential heart attack and those can range from having chest pain, acute shortness of breath, even feeling unwell. Some people just feel nauseous, they have fatigue, make sure you seek care. This is the biggest thing I can offer is to call 911. If you have an aspirin, chew it in your route and to seek attention,” Ruthmann said.

The increased risk of heart attacks tends to be highest in the city hosting the Super Bowl and in the cities whose teams are playing in it. The risk is also higher when the game is very close or especially dramatic.

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About the Authors:

You can watch Kimberly Gill weekdays anchoring Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and streaming live at 10 p.m. on Local 4+. She's an award-winning journalist who finally called Detroit home in 2014. Kim has won Regional Emmy Awards, and was part of the team that won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2022.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.