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Sporting Events May Up Heart Attack, Stroke Risk.

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"Sports events should be enjoyed with enthusiasm -- and this can be done without fear of untoward effects, especially if we have the good sense not to ignore symptoms of a heart attack," he adds.

These symptoms include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes.
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, or arms.
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath.

When asked whether diehard sports fans should take an aspirin before the game, Kaufmann says that "individuals who have verified heart disease are already under the care of a physician. For others, in a large population, there may be offsetting influences. For example, aspirin slightly increases risk of hemorrhagic stroke, a very serious condition."

"I don't think any advice will be listened to because guys are going to go out to those games," Redford Williams, MD, a behavioral medicine researcher at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., tells WebMD. "We are talking about an acute situation where you are probably drinking, probably eating a bunch of fatty food, and ... are [probably] screaming, hollering, and getting all emotionally overwrought."

The alcohol could raise your blood pressure, fatty foods could make blood more likely to clot, and the stress of screaming when your team wins or loses raises stress levels, explains Williams, the author of Anger Kills.

"If you put all of this together," he says, "you may have a heart attack."

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