Living with an inherited heart condition as a teenager: Manvir's story

Manvir Birk

Manvir (Manny) Birk, 16, has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition that his mother and brother also live with. He tells us the impact it has on his life.

I get frustrated by my heart condition. It has stopped me from doing things I would like to do.

I want to go out and see my friends, but sometimes I don’t have the energy. I have to take every day as it comes. On a bad day, I will be in bed almost all day. I can feel dizzy and get chest pain and palpitations.

Before I had my ICD fitted, my palpitations were really bad. I would tell people to imagine your heart racing as if you have just done a 100m sprint. But for me, each heartbeat was like a stab in my chest.

I worry about mum and it has been so hard to see her unwell. We have been through similar problems with our health and we deal with lots of things together.

The Birk family - L-R: Manvir, Inderdeep, Balwinder and Maninder

Manvir with his mother Inderdeep, father Balwinder and brother Maninder.

When I was fitted with an ICD last year, which was really scary, mum helped calm me down. She had been through all of this already, so could reassure me.

I live my life as fully as I can, and understanding my limits has helped.

My energy levels are still very low and it has made going to school difficult. I haven’t been able to do a full week at school, and have had to be home schooled at times, but I try to stay positive. I live my life as fully as I can, and understanding my limits has helped. I have now started at college studying business studies.

When I finish college, I would like to get into a career in human resources.

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