Watching your favourite soccer team trying to hang on to a precarious lead in the dying minutes of a match is enough to frazzle anyone's nerves, but for one Manchester United fan the stress was nearly too much.
The 58-year-old woman gets so anxious she has to take treatment for a life-threatening condition brought on by watching knife-edge games at the Old Trafford stadium.
The condition, Addisonian crisis, results from insufficient production of cortisol.
Symptoms minor against small teams
"We believe that our patient was having difficulty mounting an appropriate physiological cortisol response during the big games and therefore we present this as the first description of Manchester United-induced Addisonian crisis," said Dr Akbar Choudhry, who treated the patient.
Her doctors suspected the condition when the woman started getting bouts of anxiety, palpitations, panic, light-headedness, and a sense of impending doom towards the end of matches.
The symptoms were less serious when the home side was playing a lower-rated team.
An Addisonian crisis, which is a manifestation of Addison's disease, is difficult to diagnose because the main symptoms include fatigue, lethargy and low mood – often experienced by otherwise healthy people and frequently reported in many other chronic conditions.
Treatment coincide with new season
"Luckily, the patient was on holiday for United's 6-1 defeat by local rivals Manchester City in October," Dr Choudhry said in a report online in the British Medical Journal.
"But, by this time, doctors had fine-tuned her therapy and she has remained symptom-free during recent tense contests against Sunderland and FC Basel," he added.
Treatment coincided with the start of the 2011/12 soccer season and the patient has managed to attend all games at Old Trafford without any adverse effects.
(Reuters Health, December 2011)