Devoted football fans experience 'dangerous' levels of stress, suggests study

Devoted football fans experience 'dangerous' levels of stress, suggests study

A new study has suggested that devoted football fans experience "dangerous" levels of stress.

The research, which was conducted at the University of Oxford in England, suggests that hardcore football fans could be putting their health at risk if they get too invested in a game.

To discover just how serious football-related stress can be, check out the video below:

In a study published in the journal Stress and Health, the myth that men get more invested in the game was completely disbanded when researchers found that people of all genders get equally riled up about football.

Anxious football fans. Credit: PA Images

Dr. Martha Newson, a researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion at Oxford, said: "Fans who are strongly fused with their team - that is, have a strong sense of being 'one' with their team - experience the greatest physiological stress response when watching a match, Fans who are more casual supporters also experience stress but not so extremely."

Brazilian fans at the 2014 Word Cup. Credit: PA Images

During the 2014 World Cup, which is what the study centered on, researchers examined the effects of Brazil's devastating 7-1 loss to Germany on fans.

In the study, Dr. Newson said that "cortisol rocketed during live games for the fans who were highly fused to the team. It was particularly high when their team lost."

Cortisol is an adrenaline hormone, which, needless to say, can be very dangerous in high amounts. As per WebMD, it can be thought of as mother nature's alarm system.

Worried football fans. Credit: PA Images

Dr. Newson added: "Clubs may be able to offer heart screenings or other health measures to highly committed fans who are at the greatest risk of experiencing increased stress during the game. Strategies that aim to reduce stress hormones following particularly intense matches could help reduce incidents of hooliganism and violence."

Over an extended period of time, increased levels of cortisol can have a number of detrimental effects including increasing the risk of heart disease, digestive problems, and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, as per the Mayo Clinic.

So, if you're a football fan, you might want to try and suppress your emotions for the greater good of your health.