Case of life and death for one Man United fan during crunch games
By John von Radowitz
16 December 2011
ONE Manchester United fan knows exactly what is meant when people say football is a matter of life and death. Without treatment, the 58-year-old woman is in danger of dying from stress while watching her team play.
Doctors diagnosed "Addisonian crisis", a rare and life-threatening condition caused by lack of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Towards the end of high-profile matches at Old Trafford, the woman suffered episodes of anxiety, palpitations, panic, light-headedness, and a sense of doom.
Symptoms were especially severe during crucial games when the outcome was in question until the last minute, said doctors in the British Medical Journal.
"On these occasions, she considered leaving the stadium because she felt so unwell," wrote Dr Akbar Choudhry, from Trafford General Hospital.
In contrast, her symptoms were barely noticeable when the opposition was from lower reaches of the league.
Addisonian crisis is a particularly serious manifestation of Addison’s disease, which results from the adrenal glands not producing enough cortisol. It can lead to plummeting blood pressure, coma and death.
The condition is difficult to diagnose because the main symptoms of fatigue, lethargy and low mood are often experienced by "healthy" individuals.
The doctors concluded: "We believe our patient was having difficulty mounting an appropriate physiological cortisol response during big games, therefore, we present this as the first description of Manchester United-induced Addisonian crisis."
The patient was on holiday for Manchester United’s 6-1 defeat by local rivals Man City.