“Can you die if you have fibromyalgia?” It’s the kind of question that consumes your thoughts in the first few hours after a fibromyalgia diagnosis. After all, it’s a scary disease that not many people know well. And no doubt all the things you’ve heard about the chronic pain and disability that comes with it have you thinking that fibromyalgia must be a very serious disease.
And it is. But here’s why the question “can you die if you have fibromyalgia?” shouldn’t worry you so much.
Can You Die If You Have Fibromyalgia?
Can you die if you have fibromyalgia? The short answer is: no. You see, while fibromyalgia is a painful and serious condition, it isn’t a terminal disease in the same way that say, cancer, is.
Diseases kill you by gradual limiting the ability of your organs to perform vital functions that keep oxygen moving to your brain. In cancer, specifically, cancerous cells spread around the body filling your organs with tumors that eventually shut them down.
Fibromyalgia doesn’t affect your organs that way. While it is extremely painful, the condition doesn’t attack vital organs the way that other diseases do. So fibromyalgia won’t eventually kill you.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that while fibromyalgia itself isn’t dangerous, one of the conditions that arise from fibromyalgia can: suicide.
Suicide And Fibromyalgia
Studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia are not any more likely to die of natural causes than the average person. But they are significantly more likely to commit suicide.
A study conducted in Denmark looked at the rate of death among people with fibromyalgia and found an alarming trend. After following a group of people with fibromyalgia for several years, they found that the rate of death was not significantly different. However, in the group they studied of 1300 people, eight had committed suicide by the time the study was complete.
Compare that to the rate of suicide among the general Danish population, which is a mere 6 out of every 100,000. That’s 8 in around 1,000 versus 6 in 100,000.
So, obviously, fibromyalgia makes you significantly more likely to kill yourself. And it isn’t hard to imagine why that is.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can take everything from you. People with fibromyalgia find that they over time they often lose the ability to care for themselves. The severe pain makes it impossible for them to perform daily tasks to the point that many qualify as being disabled.
At the same time, people with fibromyalgia become extremely isolated as the people they care about drift away over time. Often friends and loved ones decide that it is too much of a burden to deal with someone who is constantly in pain. And of course, it’s hard to make time for those people when you’re pain makes basic things close to impossible.
Finally, there is a certain sense of hopelessness that comes with fibromyalgia. The treatments that are currently available in many places are limited to anti-depressants, which many fibromyalgia patients find completely ineffective, or narcotic pain medications that often lead to cycles of dependency and abuse.
At the same time, the research being done to find a cure is not nearly adequate to the task at hand. And other more visible conditions often take up the limited funds for medical research. That gives sufferers the impression that a cure will likely not become available in their lifetime.
There’s also the fact that fibromyalgia itself often causes depression and anxiety. And on top of all of that comes the constant, miserable pain.
So many people with fibromyalgia end up in a depression situation with a disease that alters their brains to make them more depressed. It’s easy to imagine why the suicide rate among people with fibromyalgia is so high.
So can you die if you have fibromyalgia? Yes. Fibromyalgia can eventually drive you to commit suicide, and in fact, often does.
That’s why it’s so important to manage your fibromyalgia depression. Find every way to cope that you possibly can. Reach out to support networks on the internet or in your daily life. Find new friends who understand fibromyalgia. Don’t let your loved ones drift away.
And above all, don’t give in to suicidal thoughts. Suicide leaves lasting pain for everyone involved and is not the solution that it might seem on your worst days. It will not solve any problems, only make more for those who care about you.
Just remember that life is worth living and you are not alone. Can you die if you have fibromyaliga? Yes, but only if you choose to.