Devoted football fans are at a greater risk of heart attacks due to stress according to research conducted by Oxford University.
Football fans are a loyal lot. Many of them go on and support one club their entire life. This allows them to enjoy the success of the club as their own. Conversely however, the failures of the club are seen as personal disappointments as well.
The level of involvement in the club however, can be extremely dangerous to fans according to a study conducted by researchers of Oxford University, who came to the conclusion that loyal fans tend to put themselves under the risk of suffering from a heart attack due to experiencing intense levels of stress.
Devoted football fans are at a greater risk of heart attacks due to stress according to research
“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,” said Dr Martha Newson, researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, at Oxford per BBC.
“Fans who are more casual supporters also experience stress but not so extremely.”
The study tested saliva from Brazilian fans during their shocking 7-1 defeat to Germany at the 2014 World Cup.
It found that levels of the hormone cortisol rocketed during the semi-final loss.
Interestingly, despite the preconception that men are more bonded to their football teams, the researchers found no difference in stress levels between men and women during the game.
Prolonged high levels of cortisol can raise blood pressure, constrict blood vessels and damage an already weakened heart. It can also cause anxiety and give people the feeling that their life is in danger.
Previous research has also shown an increase in heart attacks among fans on important match days, whether supporting club or country.
Click here for more football news