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Diagnosis: Red Sox fever

Posted by Dr. Suzanne Koven  October 23, 2013 02:11 PM

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davis_soxos14_spts.jpg I didn't feel that great last week. I was tired, jittery, and had an upset stomach. Several of my patients mentioned they'd had similar symptoms and I concluded we all had a bug that's going around Boston: Red Sox fever.

I'll be the first to admit it: I am not exactly a loyal fan. I do not subscribe to one of those cable packages that allow you to watch minor league games in the middle of the night. From Texas. On a Tuesday. In April. But when "my" team is winning I get very interested--almost to the point of suffering. Perhaps I am genetically predisposed to fair weather fan-itis. I have a distinct memory of knocking on my elderly--I believe she was in her 40s at the time-- Aunt Freddie's door in New York one day in October of 1969. Until that day, Freddie didn't know or care a thing about sports, but I found her in a near swoon. "Hurry inside!" she said. "Tom Seaver's on the mound!"

Last week, during the games against the Detroit Tigers, I stayed up past my bedtime night after night, drank and ate more than I should (it was either that or watch the commercial with the kid with the braces who has fear of public speaking which was cute for, like, the first several hundred times) and experienced episodes of sudden elevation of heart rate (thank you Messrs. Ortiz and Victorino). Surely such stress has an effect on my physical health and that of my patients who reacted similarly?

In all seriousness, there have been studies showing that watching sports elevates blood pressure and that the incidence of heart attacks among spectators rises on game day. On the other hand, some researchers believe that watching sports is good stimulation for the brain and that the elevation of heart rate involved in watching sports actually constitutes a mild form of aerobic exercise.

I'm going with that.

So don't bother me for the next few days. I'll be busy "working out."

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Suzanne Koven, M.D. practices internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She writes a monthly column for the Globe's G Health section and her essays have appeared in the More »

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