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Defence is more important than the attack

About the author: 

Doctors have stumbled on the 'X' factor that may determine if life-threatening conditions such as heart attack prove to be fatal

Doctors have stumbled on the 'X' factor that may determine if life-threatening conditions such as heart attack prove to be fatal. It's football.

It's not that the highs and lows of an exciting football game contribute to heart failure (although they might); it's more that men in particular can't be bothered to get treatment if there's an important match being televised.

This is an observation made by a dermatologist in Denmark. He was a house officer in 1986, when the national side was having a good run in the World Cup. "The emergency rooms were notably empty during all matches, and patients reappeared only some time after the end of any match," he writes in the British Medical Journal.

As a result, vital treatment was delayed because the match was more important than the heart attack.

His conclusion? Watching football may affect long-term health (BMJ, 2003; 326: 600).


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