For one British soccer fan, the intensity of watching her favorite team play in a critical match could put her in a coma.
A group of doctors reported Thursday that they diagnosed a 58-year-old woman with a potentially life-threatening condition after she told them about the unusual symptoms she suffered at Manchester United games.
Watching her team in a high-stakes matchup at Old Trafford, Manchester United's home ground, would trigger an episode of "anxiety, palpitations, panic, light headedness and a sense of impending doom," the doctors said. Her symptoms were especially severe if the game's outcome came down to the wire.
The avid fan was diagnosed with addisonian crisis—a manifestation of Addison's disease that prevented her body from producing enough of the hormone cortisol to keep her stress in check and could lead to dangerously low blood pressure or even a coma.
"We believe that our patient was having difficulty mounting an appropriate physiological cortisol response during the big games," the doctors wrote in their British Medical Journal report, presenting the case as "the first description of Manchester United induced addisonian crisis."
The woman's treatment—two daily doses of medication taken mid-way through afternoon and evening matches—began in step with United's 2011-2012 season and she was able to cheer her team on at Old Trafford without any of the symptoms she experienced before.
The doctors did acknowledge, however, that in most of the games their patient has attended this season, United won by a large margin. She was thankfully on vacation when local rivals Manchester City destroyed the Red Devils in a crushing 6-1 defeat.