Cardiologist shares how the Super Bowl can cause cardiac events in fans

SACRAMENTO – For many people in Northern California, the Super Bowl is likely to be stressful. But for some, that stress can land you in the emergency room or even be deadly.

CBS13 spoke with a cardiologist, who says heart attacks during events like the Super Bowl are more common than you think.

Heart-pounding events, from the World Cup to the Super Bowl, are now known to be a risk factor for cardiovascular events.

The risk is higher for at-risk people in cities or regions where the teams playing are from.

“It is a known phenomenon and known risk factor,” said Muhammad Choudhry, a Dignity Health cardiologist.

Choudhry says he’s seen this phenomenon firsthand.

“So people who have these risk factors are at much higher risk of having a cardiac event in a stressful situation like the Super Bowl,” Choudhry said.

Some of those risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity

Dr. Choudhry said it comes down to adrenaline.

“And what adrenaline does is that if you have cholesterol built up in your blood vessels that makes it unstable and once that happens you can have any of the cardiac events happen,” Choudhry said.

Those events are heart attacks, strokes and heart palpitations.

Iconic Super Bowl foods, specifically foods with high fat and carbs, only make things worse.

“Not only that, but people are smoking more during these events, they are consuming alcohol. And all of that plays into creating enough stress on your cardiac system, to have a heart attack,” Choudhry said.

So if you’re at risk and prone to getting stressed, Choudhry said to avoid spiking your heart rate, ditch high-fat food, smoking, and alcohol and learn to manage your stress levels. But the most important tip is to drink a lot of water.

“If you keep yourself well hydrated, that may be enough to avoid having a heart attack or cardiovascular event,” Choudhry said. 

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