Wondering how to cope with watching the 2023 AFCON finals on Sunday, and living to tell the story?
The first step is to assess the condition of your heart. Indeed, you may need to check your blood pressure before you sit down to watch the decisive match. Blood pressure check is mostly free, by the way.
According to Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Ramon Moronfolu, a situation whereby people die suddenly due to emotional exertion, for instance, while watching a live football match is needless.
“If only such a person knew the situation of his/her heart. Emotional upsurge happens when someone is excited, grieved, sad, or perplexed.”
He gave these tips in the wake of losing some Nigerians to the Super Eagles vs. Bafana Bafana match at semi-finals of the ongoing 2023 AFCON.
Dr. Moronfolu says, “Medically, if pressure is put on an individual’s cardiovascular system, if same has no underlying morbidity, that is, the heart is fine, the vessels are okay, then s/he may not experience complications at that time. It may not cause the individual many problems.
“But if an individual has underlying cardiovascular disease, whether the disease is known or unknown, maybe the person is hypertensive and s/he doesn’t know, or knows but not taking recommended drugs, the blood pressure is not well controlled, is diabetic and the sugar is not well controlled, has high cholesterol that is not controlled, has some malfunctioning in the system, such as the vessels in the heart already narrowed due to plaque, in that situation, if the individual is subjected to sudden emotional surge (emotional exertion on the heart), it may lead to a heart attack.
“This is because the amount of blood being supplied to the heart is not enough, due to the compromised vessels.
“Alongside the exposure to the surge in emotion, the heart will definitely demand more blood. And easily lead to a heart attack.
if an individual has cardiovascular disease, as he is jubilating and shouting, the heart won’t be able to cope due to the underlying conditions, and as the blood pressure shoots up, stroke will set in, and the individual will breathe his last
“An individual may have heart failure because the heart is struggling to work, and if exposed to this emotional exertion, may pack up suddenly.
“An individual with high blood pressure may also have abnormal beating of the heart pattern, leading to sudden death.
“Genetic abnormality that puts the heart at the risk of developing an abnormal rhythm when there is a sudden emotional surge is also of concern here.
“The individual may appear healthy, but the genetic abnormality puts the individual in an abnormal rhythm. Such an individual can die suddenly if there is an emotional spike. However, this is not so common.
“Another factor is if an individual has cardiovascular disease and may also develop stroke during the emotional surge of hearing “it’s a goal!” As s/he is jubilating and shouting, the heart won’t be able to cope due to the underlying conditions, and as the blood pressure shoots up, stroke will set in, and the individual will breathe his last.”
You can listen to the doctor here:
The American Heart Association explains that blood pressure readings are composed of two numbers—for example, 120/80 mm Hg. Both numbers are an important part of your blood pressure reading.
The top number (systolic pressure) measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) measures the pressure in your arteries between each heartbeat.
The standard unit of measure, mm Hg, stands for “millimeters of mercury.” Mercury pressure gauges have been replaced with electronic pressure gauges, but the abbreviation is still used.
Prevent sudden death
To forestall, mitigate, or manage conditions that lead to deaths from emotional spike, as sometimes happens in live matches, Dr. Moronfolu suggests that everybody should know their numbers, avoid situations that can unnecessarily raise the blood pressure, and ensure they treat any underlying medical condition.
The consultant adds that people should do regular medical checkups, and nobody should wait to have symptoms before rushing to the health facility.
“If routine medical checkup is done, it is a fact that health problems will be picked up on time.
“The second part is to see the doctor immediately so it doesn’t escalate or lead to sudden death.
“It is pathetic when people die in such situations because nobody can do anything at that point.
“People should also know their limitations. I know people who do not watch live matches, especially matches they commit to. They will just go and sleep, and watch the review later.
“For instance, if you walk a short distance and experience chest pain, or feel dizzy, or small thing your heart is beating fast, already that is an issue. Avoid tense environments or situations.
“It is also good to acquire CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) skills. Our emergency response should also be improved.
“If we have individuals in emergencies and our emergency response system, coupled with agile ambulance vehicles, is top-notch, many lives would definitely be saved.
“I will recommend that anywhere we have a crowd, there should be mandatory provision of AED in designated properly marked areas.”
An AED is Automated External Defibrillator, which is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.
It’s a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use, medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.