Impact of Coke on the heart

benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie

I did post a message some time ago about the impact of the drug on your nose. However since then I have a bigger worry, my heart. I have only very occasionally used and have gone months at a time without doing any at all, I am much more focused on my exercise which I do a lot. Ive now decided (better late than never) that this is not worth doing, the risks associated with it at are large, I think I was naïve to think otherwise. So to give some idea I have used very occasionally over the last 2 or 3 years, perhaps only 3 or 4 times per year so not regular by any stretch of the imagination.

Since last week I have felt some heart fluttering's, I decided to do a private health assessment which included a resting ECG. I have been feeling very anxious recently and I had assumed perhaps this was to do with that. I can even see my heart fluttering if I lift my shirt up. The ECG showed a bit of a strange rhythm, the GP wasn't entirely clear on her thoughts but is running it past a cardiologist next week. She did say not to worry though and that she didn't consider anything immediately dangerous. I was honest with her about the drug use as it was something weighing on my mind, he opinion was that for such occasional use its unlikely that it would be a factor, but I cant help but think it might be. These flutters came on about 10 days after my last use at a festival (and that really will be my last use). She suggested next step may be to have an echocardiogram and perhaps a 24hr ECG just to have a better look. I know that anxiety can play a big part in this. The thing I cant get out of my head is in comparison to a regular user mine is so small, I understand over time you can do damage to the heart (or if you took a lot in one go which would be a possible OD) but this has just really frightened me, I have a family and responsibilities and its times like this you realize you may need to re-evaluate your life.

Not even sure why I am putting this on here, guess im just feeling a bit alone with it, whilst also suffering with anxiety/mental issues. One piece of advice I would have (without sounding preachy) is never touch the stuff if you have any kind of anxiety/depression to start with, I can say from first hand experience even occasional use can play havoc with those problems and its tough to deal with. 

LaineRileyLabraBelllittlegemz

Comments

  • RileyRiley Posts: 249 Moderator
    Hey there @benji89 thank you so much for sharing your experience here.

    It's really great that you've chosen to share your story on the boards and talk about how even a casual drug use has affected your life, hopefully other users find your advice helpful too. It's important to know the risks involved especially as you said if you're coping with any kind of mental health issues at the time as well.

    As for what you said that you're worrying about your heart I think the best thing to do for now is to listen to your doctor's advice and try not to think too much about it or blame yourself when you haven't heard the results yet. It's understandable that you would feel worried about medical tests but it's important to keep calm and try and maybe try and distract yourself in the meantime.  Be sure to let us know how you get on when your results come back!

    - Riley
    LabraBell
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    Thank you for your reply on this, it's nice to know someone is looking at what I write.

    I have to admit I am terrified. Still having palpitations and a few other smaller issues which I wonder if they are related. When I searched those symptoms most are also signs of heart failure and that absolutely terrifies me even if there's also a chance it's something other than that. I have got young children and the thought of this (and not being able to tell my family) is really killing me. I won't have any further ECG results back until end of the coming week and I don't know what to do with myself. 


    littlegemz
  • LaineLaine Horse hugger Posts: 1,226 Fanatical Poster
    Okay calm down Benji, is there any chance these could be anxiety symptoms? I get those all the time and it really feels like its gonna stop, beat so fast or skip. 

    I don't know much about drugs but you didn't take too many and your GP not being concerned was very positive x

    🌈Positive thoughts🌈 

    "I will make you believe you are lovely!" ~ TOP

    "No one else is dealing with your demons, meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning friend" ~ TOP

    "What's gonna be left of the world if you're not in it?" ~ Bastille
    littlegemz
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    I think for sure anxiety is playing a part but I can't quite bring myself to think that's all it is. 

    Just feeling really concerned and helpless. Just so annoyed that I have put myself in this position. 
    littlegemz
  • SkiveSkive No discipline! No morality! No respect! New ForestPosts: 14,912 Part of the furniture
    I very much doubt that the level of usage you described has resulted in any permanent and negative physical effects.
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    thanks Skive for the reply. I hope you are right. Stupidly over last week I have read lots of information online, much of it I wised I hadn't. Saying that its possible to get permanent damage even after only using the drug once. including heart failure. These stories have made me think in a unhealthy way. Ive got a follow up on Thursday with GP anyway and a probable echocardiogram next week to have a look.
  • ShaunieShaunie England 🏠Posts: 4,309 Uber Poster
    Hope your gp appiontment goes okay on thursday & hope all is okay. Keep us updated on how things are if youd like.  & glad to read you have re evaulated your life in a positive way. 
     
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    Shaunie said:
    Hope your gp appiontment goes okay on thursday & hope all is okay. Keep us updated on how things are if youd like.  & glad to read you have re evaulated your life in a positive way. 


    Thank you for your message. I had a phone call from the Dr. to say that the Cardiologist was a bit concerned by my readings as It showed that my heart was a bit enlarged and that the walls are thickened. Im not full sure what all this means but they want to get me looked at asap. So they are trying to organize a Echocardiogram for tomorrow if possible then a meeting with the cardiologist on Monday to go through everything followed by a 24hr ECG to check the rhythm over a longer period and a blood test to check thyroid.

    So all in all im not sure how I feel, pretty scared to be honest, but they did say some of this may be due to the extensive sports training I do which works my heart quite a bit. So that could be a factor in an enlarged heart, but they felt that they couldn't sit back and say my ECG was fine without having some extensive investigation.

    So im really worried what this may show, ive got a young family and im terrified of not being there for them, especially if this is all my own selfish fault 

    littlegemz
  • SkiveSkive No discipline! No morality! No respect! New ForestPosts: 14,912 Part of the furniture
    You mention intensive sport training - have you ever taken steroids to aid with that?
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    Skive said:
    You mention intensive sport training - have you ever taken steroids to aid with that?

    no never taken any kind of steroids, always done everything clean. yes I probably train 10-15 hours a week which I realize is a lot. Im not sure what impact that could have. I really hope that that could be the reason my heart is showing as potentially enlarged. But for sure all of this has shaken me up as the honest thing is I have no idea. I really haven't done that much coke in my life when compared to others who use it, literally every 2 or 3 months probably on average over a few years so its not major, but I guess it only takes one time for consequences to happen. I don't know if im putting 2 and 2 together and reaching 5, just had to be rational at this moment. I look at my young daughter and feel instant guilt that if I have caused myself problems I really haven't been thinking about her when I have been doing all this, she should be my number 1 and after this episode she will be. I just need to know I don't have something very serious, I looked up some of the symptoms I had on Dr Google (worst idea ever) and I kept seeing things like Heart Failure, that has been the main reason that I have started to panic.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline! No morality! No respect! New ForestPosts: 14,912 Part of the furniture
    I have to say I've done significantly more coke that you describe but gave up a some time ago because I was worried about health effects. There's no doubt that it's bad for you but the level of usage you describe really is very small. I wouldn't worry about it until you know more. Worrying about something never improved the situation, and the main thing is your doing what you need to do, and that's getting checked out by the doc.
    Riley
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    Skive said:
    I have to say I've done significantly more coke that you describe but gave up a some time ago because I was worried about health effects. There's no doubt that it's bad for you but the level of usage you describe really is very small. I wouldn't worry about it until you know more. Worrying about something never improved the situation, and the main thing is your doing what you need to do, and that's getting checked out by the doc.

    Thank you for the reply, yes you are of course right. And well done for giving it up, I think most people reach a point where they realize the health impact of coke is very bad. Certainly ive got friends who do it MUCH more than me, probably at least once a week. That's who I tended to do it with when we went out raving etc. They don't seem to worry as much as me and have (to their knowledge) had no health impacts. Im wondering whether mine is caused by other problems but because I have put myself in this position I have come to the conclusion I have done this to myself through drug use. Anyway whatever the result im not putting myself in this position again.
  • SkiveSkive No discipline! No morality! No respect! New ForestPosts: 14,912 Part of the furniture
    benji89 said:
    Thank you for the reply, yes you are of course right. And well done for giving it up, I think most people reach a point where they realize the health impact of coke is very bad. Certainly ive got friends who do it MUCH more than me, probably at least once a week. That's who I tended to do it with when we went out raving etc. They don't seem to worry as much as me and have (to their knowledge) had no health impacts. Im wondering whether mine is caused by other problems but because I have put myself in this position I have come to the conclusion I have done this to myself through drug use. Anyway whatever the result im not putting myself in this position again.
    I stopped doing it because of the health implications but also because I never really liked it. I certainly never had what you might call an addiction. Was always more into ecstasy - something I have taken many many times, and something I would still do again in the right situation.

    Anyway. Hope it turns out alright for you. Let us know how you get on.
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie

    so ive now had my check up on this, my cardiologist said that my first ECG showed strong signs of 2nd degree heart block which is a block in the electrical circuit of the heart. I did a 2nd ECG yesterday and that didn't show the issue so its something that's likely to be intermittent at the moment. He said its important I know as if it were to become more problematic they would probably recommend a pacemaker to protect me should the block ever become permanent as that could cause much more serious problems. At this moment though he doesn't think that is necessary, he wants me to do a 24hr ECG so we get a bigger picture when im resting and am at home etc,.

    He also reassured me that he sees nothing in my results that could have been caused by any drugs, he thinks this is something completely unrelated. So all in all im happy that its not something immediately serious, im a little nervous carrying round a potentially dangerous heart condition but then again im glad I know so that I can take the steps to keep an eye on it as I move forward and at least know that one day I may need a pacemaker to protect me, that knowledge could one day save me I guess. For now I just need that 24hr test then to have regular (probably annual) ECG's to monitor the condition.

  • RileyRiley Posts: 249 Moderator
    Hey again @benji89 glad to see you're keeping us all up to date with how you're doing.

    Sorry to hear that the doctor found a problem though as you said I'm sure it's a relief to hear that it's nothing life threatening at the moment. Hopefully your doctor will be able to help you plenty going forward and keep things in check, be sure to keep us updated with how you're getting on.

    It sounds like it's a big weight off your shoulders to hear that this isn't connected to your previous drug use, how do you feel now that you know more about what you're dealing with? Best of luck with everything as well as your 24hr test coming up. :)

    -  Riley
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    Riley said:
    Hey again @benji89 glad to see iyou're keeping us all up to date with how you're doing.

    Sorry to hear that the doctor found a problem though as you said I'm sure it's a relief to hear that it's nothing life threatening at the moment. Hopefully your doctor will be able to help you plenty going forward and keep things in check, be sure to keep us updated with how you're getting on.

    It sounds like it's a big weight off your shoulders to hear that this isn't connected to your previous drug use, how do you feel now that you know more about what you're dealing with? Best of luck with everything as well as your 24hr test coming up. :)

    -  Riley
    Thank you. I feel better for knowing it wasn't drug related and it's something that i may have had for a while without realising. Best case scenario is that it won't impact on my life and will hardly show symptoms. Worst case it turns into a 3rd degree blockage and I would require a pacemaker which would need replacing every 10 years or so. Even with a pacemaker it wouldn't restrict or limit life too much, it would just be there to protect me if my heart short circuits. It's far from certain I will need one anyway. I'm under the care of a top cardiologist at papworth so am in good hands and will trust what he says. In the echocardiogram done which came back completely normal so structurally my heart is fine which is the main thing. 
  • ShaunieShaunie England 🏠Posts: 4,309 Uber Poster
    edited November 2018
    Maybe not completely useful. But was it right that you meant Papworth hospital? Cause if so. My mum has a heart problem and has a pacemaker and she goes to that hopsital in Cambridge and they have helped her so much with her heart. So definetly agree in safe care. Glad to hear is nothing life threatening for atm. 

    [Tweaked by moderator]
     
  • SkiveSkive No discipline! No morality! No respect! New ForestPosts: 14,912 Part of the furniture
    Good to know it wasn't drug related so you can stop kicking yourself. But more importantly it's good to know that you've got the professionals looking at your problem. :)
  • benji89benji89 Posts: 10 Fast Newbie
    thanks all, Shaunie yes I did mean Papworth in Cambridge, ive got a cardiologist who is based there. With them being the leading heart and lung hospital in the UK im glad to have someone there keeping an eye over my progress.
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