Can you really die because of fibromyalgia?
“Arthritis and Rheumatism” a study published last year found disturbing trends in a cohort of fibromyalgia patients that may change the health care community’s approach to fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is not a disease but a chronic pain syndrome and it has been accepted by many in the medical association. Certainly, it is not killing anyone. However, there have been intermittent reports in the literature of increased fatality due to cardiovascular disease and suicide.
The main results of the study on ‘’Arthritis and Rheumatism’’ reveal that 1,296 Danish female patients were at an increased risk of death due to suicide, liver disease, and cerebrovascular disease. Previous studies have found increased rates of depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue, and other psychiatric disorders with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia patients commit suicide 10 times more than the general population. But the disturbing thing is that fibromyalgia patients who commit suicide, none of them had a medical history of depression or any other type of psychiatric illness at the time of diagnosis.
In Denmark, there is a relative lack of the scar often surrounding suicide clasped with the fact that autopsies are required when a suicide defects, which would seem to assure fairly accurate estimates of the suicide rate. Not only in Denmark, no matter what the country is, there is also a trend toward underreporting when it comes to suicide.
A diagnosis of chronic pain is associated with an elevated death rate due to a variety of external causes. It is very well a common case that a death that sounds to be an accidental case, is in reality a suicide (for example, a fall or a single-vehicle accident). It has been found that there is some relation between higher suicide risk with higher accidental death in patients with fibromyalgia.
Alcohol consumption is very vulnerable to patients suffering from fibromyalgia as it enhances the higher risks of liver disease which ultimately leads to death. According to WHO World Health Organization, Denmark has the highest rate of alcohol consumption. In addition to alcohol consumption, fibromyalgia-like pain is often reported by patients with hepatitis C.
Many fibromyalgia patients are overweight, if not obese and this becomes the reason for cerebrovascular disease in them. On average, 19% of the fibromyalgia patients were found to be obese and 54% were current smokers and half of them are heavy smokers. Healthy subjects flaunted a better cardiovascular response to physical and emotional stress. Indubitably physical inactivity due to pain may contribute to atherosclerosis.
Whenever a fibromyalgia patient presents for an assessment, Physicians need to scout risk factors for suicide, liver disease, and cerebrovascular disease. It is a little more work, but more than chronic pain will likely need to be addressed by the patient and jobholder.