Doctors at emergency rooms around the world are getting ready for the onslaught of heart attacks and other heart-related maladies. Who’s to blame? The World Cup!

Blowing vuvuzelas

The British Heart Foundation posted on their website a series of easy-to-follow tips that will help you keep your heart healthy. Some of the tips are watching the matches with friends and family, staying below the maximum recommended alcohol units (ahem!), or giving up smoking.

The Brazilian Cardiology Society is going to carry out a study, in the form of a survey, in the emergency rooms of several hospitals in Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte and Salvador in order to determine how dramatic tension can affect the health of spectators. The aim of this study is to evaluate cases of myocardial infarction, angina, arrhythmia and strokes to see a correlation with the matches played by Brazil.

An article on cardiovascular events in The New England Journal of Medicine refers to a study conducted during the 2006 World Cup in Germany examined the relation between emotional stress and the incidence of cardiovascular events. The authors concluded that “viewing a stressful soccer match more than doubles the risk of an acute cardiovascular event. In view of this excess risk, particularly in men with known coronary heart disease, preventive measures are urgently needed.”

Argentinean psychiatrist Jose Bonet, from Fundacion Favaloro, says that soccer in that country has social and emotional implications that become more marked during the World Cup. Matches become a risk factor, especially when the result impinges upon a person’s well-being. Dr. Bonet recommends using relaxation techniques before the matches and avoiding too much alcohol, greasy food and cigarettes.

Whatever your team’s result, remember: your health comes first.

Read more:
Join Brazil’s big yellow and green world cup celebrations
Swim between the flags in New Zealand
Passion and nostalgia in Buenos Aires

About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.