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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Health risk for football fans
Sunderland play Newcastle
Supporters of Sunderland are more at risk than those on Tyneside

Football fans in the north-east may be suffering more than they realise if their team is having a poor display on the pitch.

A medical survey has revealed an alarming number of deaths from heart attacks among football fans following a home defeat for their team.

And, given their recent form, Sunderland fans have more to worry about than people who follow Newcastle or Middlesbrough.

The findings come in a report by the North East Director of Public Health, Dr Bill Kirkup.

He examined the frequency of heart attacks over five years in four football-mad areas - Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Leeds.

Healthy lifestyle

He found that home defeats for those teams meant a big rise in the number of male deaths from heart attacks and strokes in the hours following the match.

The most extreme example was in Sunderland - where the rise in deaths was 63%.

Dr Kirkup said the anger and frustration caused by the home defeat provided the trigger factor for the actual attack.

He is now advising that football fans should be especially careful to follow lifestyle advice which will keep their heart healthy .

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