US researchers have found an increased number of cardiac deaths, particularly among women, after a city's home team lost in the famed Super Bowl, the biggest American football game of the year.
The study, published Monday in the journal Clinical Cardiology, examined residents of Los Angeles where the home team lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1980 and won against the Washington Redskins in 1984.
It looked at how the rise in deaths after the loss related to age and sex and race, and found that in women, there was a 27 percent increase in all circulatory deaths.
In men, there was a 15 percent increase in such deaths associated with the loss.
"The Super Bowl may elicit an emotional response that is similar in US females and males, or perhaps a male's reaction to the Super Bowl loss adversely affected the emotional state of a female partner," the study said.
Women also fared better than men after the Super Bowl win four years later.
"For women, but not men, there was a reduction in all-cause death and circulatory deaths associated with the Super Bowl win," the study said.
After the loss, more cardiac deaths occurred overall across sex barriers. And among people over 65, there was a 22 percent increase in circulatory deaths, though no statistically significant differences were found among various races.
"Physicians and patients should be aware that stressful games might elicit an emotional response that could trigger a cardiac event," said lead study author Robert Kloner.
Previous studies of football (soccer) fans in Europe found an increase in acute coronary syndrome and arrhythmia, more so among men than women, during the 2006 World Cup.
This year's Super Bowl takes place February 6 between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
"Stress reduction programs or certain medications might be appropriate in individual cases," said Kloner.