PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — All of this excitement and celebration surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles is a lot of fun but it has the potential to be dangerous to your health.
With the team heading to the NFC Championship game, a football frenzy of excitement has gripped the region.
"There's a chance to create really good brain chemistry; get drenched with those rewarding brain chemicals if we become a fan and get into the collective sense of belonging and victory," said psychologist Scott Bea.
But all the Eagles excitement can also be potentially dangerous.
"People get very excited and there's a sudden elevation of adrenaline levels -- we call them catecholamines [and] cortisol levels. And this increases stress on the heart, increases blood pressure [and] increases heart rate," Dr. Vincent Figueredo explained.
Figueredo, who the chair of cardiology at Einstein Medical Center, says studies have documented an increase in heart attacks during big sporting events.
"In addition, they've seen increases in life-threatening arrhythmia, sudden death, as well as heart failure," Figueredo explained.
In 2005, when the Eagles were in the Super Bowl, Einstein saw an increase in patients with heart issues.
"Most of these people have underlying factors already. They either have clinical coronary artery disease or a weak heart," Figueredo explained.
He says salty, fattening football food and too much alcohol can also increase visits to the emergency department.
"If people don't eat too much, don't drink too much and don't take it too seriously but enjoy the game, then I think they can avoid coming to visit us."
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