Along with the rest of my family, I have Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), which is a disease of your heart muscle where it becomes stretched and thin.
As both of my parents have the disease, I have inherited DCM, which is caused by a change or mutation in one or more genes. There are other forms of DCM which can be caused by things such as high blood pressure, excessive alcohol and pregnancy.
I’ve known about my DCM for about 9 years now, ever since my younger brother Jack collapsed at home one day with no prior warning. We found out he had DCM and were all tested around the same time. Myself, mum and dad were diagnosed but youngest brother Toby was not.
Living with DCM at the level at which we all have it is OK. I take drugs (Bisopromol and Ramipril) to control my heart rate and hopefully lessen the extent to which the disease will further weaken my heart. The drugs have side effects, mainly fatigue and headaches which can affect normal life. It’s more the mental effects that take their toll. Living with a life long disease that to some extent controls your life can be hard to deal with at times, especially when that same disease caused Jack to have a heart transplant 7 years ago.
I want to use this blog to track my lifestyle with DCM to show other people suffering that it doesn’t have to control your life, in fact it can enhance it and make life more enjoyable. I eat a healthy diet that I’ve developed to support my heart.
I want to raise awareness of the disease itself. Sadly many young people die each year from sudden heart deaths, not knowing they have heart conditions like cardiomyopathy. It’s important to get tested if you, your friends or family show any symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath or sickness especially when exercising.
I had an article on DCM in The Daily Mail in 2013 to help raise awareness of the disease in unknowing sufferers.