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Skip Navigation LinksHarris Health About Us News Watching the Super Bowl…Watch Your Health!

Watching the Super Bowl…Watch Your Health!

Each year Super Bowl Sunday is full of football, entertaining commercials, unhealthy foods, alcohol and bouts of excitement and frustration—all of which pose dangerous medical implications that can have harmful, if not fatal, effects.

Participating in the American pastime with these components can heighten a person's chances to experience a heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. Super Bowl activities can stress people to the point of moderate to severe chest pains during or after the game that many people tend to ignore.

It's important to seek medical treatment when chest pain or discomfort occurs. Dr. John Higgins, chief, Cardiology, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, and professor, Cardiovascular Medicine Department, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, treats patients every year that experience these conditions resulting from similar events.

"There is definitely a spike in heart attacks during big sporting events," Higgins says. "In many of these Super Bowl cases, people do not seek medical treatment for what they consider to be heart burn or other causes of pain. Instead, they have actually experienced a heart attack or maybe a stroke and will continue to feel pain in the coming days."

He understands how serious the effects can be when people overindulge during big sports games, events or holidays. According to Higgins, these conditions can worsen if people have high expectations about a particular outcome, especially when they have bets on the game.

To ensure a safe and healthy Super Bowl enjoyment, Higgins offers the following tips for every football fan:

  1. Get plenty of sleep
  2. Eat well-balanced meals
  3. Relax throughout the day
  4. Exercise
  5. Hydrate (drink a lot of water), especially when consuming alcohol
  6. Eat healthy snacks throughout the event instead of traditional foods such as chicken wings, fries and burgers
  7. Socialize with friends and family during the game
  8. Stay active during the game—walk around, especially in between each quarter