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Does watching the Super Bowl raise your risk of a heart attack?

Millions will tune into the Super Bowl on Sunday, but just how many are unknowingly putting themselves at risk of a heart attack?

“Multiple studies have demonstrated that stress related to watching sports can definitely increase your chance of a heart attack,” Dr. Matthew Budoff, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at UCLA, told Fox News via email. “A study published in 2011 demonstrated an increased risk of deaths after the Super Bowl."


But it’s not just the San Francisco or Kansas City fans who are at risk, either. As Budoff points out, many others who tune in may have money on the line. However, even if your team covers the spread, you can’t collect on the bet if you don’t make it through the game, Budoff said.

“My recommendations are to find a way to manage your stress, especially if the game is really getting to you,” he said. “Walk outside for a few minutes, relax, take in a few breaths.”

He also recommends avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke, and drinking and eating in moderation rather than overdoing it on the big day, especially for fans who already have a heart condition. But he also isn’t advising fans to miss out on all the fun.

“I would say eat healthily, but I have not been to a Super Bowl [party] with a healthy spread, but be realistic and do your best,” he said. “After the big game, if you have concerns about the health of your heart, consider making lifestyle changes to improve your diet and add more exercise. Supplements such as Aged Garlic Extract, CoQ10 and Omega-3s can also be part of your game plan to ensure your heart is as strong as your passion for your team.”

Possible signs of a heart attack to look out for include chest pain, pressure or tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and even nausea and vomiting.