I had an heart attack 4 years ago at the age of 48, had two stents fitted, and was told that I would be taking aspirin every day for the rest of my life.

I had been treated for asthma for decades until my heart attack, only to realise afterwards my heart that was leaving me breathless not asthma. For a few months I felt I had been given a new pair of lungs, but my health gradually declined, with pain, cramps, nausea, and rashes/hives.

I had been prescribed two medications. A consultant suggested cutting out the aspirin and sticking with the Prasugrel. In the following months my condition improved to the extent that I took up hiking and trekking and everything seemed to be going fine.

One day at the gym I felt feverish, lethargic and started suffering with vertigo. Assuming I had Meniere's disease, my own doctor gave me a double dose of an anti-vertigo drug that was followed accidently by another double dose from an ENT consultant. This quadruple dose had severe effects on my heart and I started getting palpitations. When they realised what had happened, I was given anti-inflammatories to see if the vertigo could be helped by allowing the middle ear to drain more easily. Instead my condition worsened as I began getting chest pains, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips and severe throat pain and rashes.

The next episode finally solved a lot of issues. While on a walk through the English countryside, my girlfriend and I stumbled on some wild blackberries and picked about a kilo. That night, we made blackberry jam/jelly with occasional tasters. The next morning I awoke with some rashes around my elbow but thought little of it and put it down to a mild side effect of the anti-inflammatories, went to work as usual, however the following morning I felt very lethargic but managed to get up for work and while doing so ate a slice of toast liberally lavished with a good dollop of homemade blackberry jelly. Later that day I found virtually all my arms and neck covered in hives and rashes, I had difficulty breathing and was eventually taken to Accident & Emergency in an ambulance ... My partner was aware of my rashes etc and after we had joked about it being the jam/jelly, she did some research and discovered that blackberries are very high in salicylates which is also the reason that people have an allergic reaction to aspirin. When I mentioned this at A&E they seemed totally unaware of this link, and carried on treating me for a suspected heart attack.

I visited my doctor today who has now advised me not to take anti-inflammatories as they are likely to contain salicylates and has now put a note on my records that I am not to be prescribed any medication that contains them. Why was it not obvious to trained medical staff that if you have an allergic reaction to aspirin, it is quite likely that it is because of salicylates and that care should then be taken when prescribing further medicines?
In general I am beginning to lose faith in the medical profession:

- I was treated for asthma instead of heart disease
- I was given life threatening drugs for someone with heart disease
- I was given medicine that contained ingredients to which I might (very likely) have an allergic reaction.
- they did not make a connection between Aspirin and Salicylates
My advice for anyone who has suffered from heart disease and advised to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables for a healthy lifestyle: if you've had a reaction to aspirin or other anti-inflammatories, be cautious of salicylates in food, drink, medication, toiletries and even cosmetics. - Tony, UK

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