“Can fibromyalgia be fatal?” It’s probably the first question on your mind after you get diagnosed with fibromyalgia. After all, it’s a scary diagnosis for a disease that not many people understand. So it makes sense to be scared and confused if you think you are developing fibromyalgia or just got diagnosed. And it makes sense that the first thing you’d want to know is if it can kill you.
Well, the good news is that fibromyalgia won’t, by itself, kill you. The symptoms of fibromyalgia won’t become terminal and you won’t die from complications of fibromyalgia as you might from a disease like cancer.
But the bad news is that fibromyalgia can be dangerous in other ways that might reduce your lifespan. Let’s talk about what those ways are and answer how can fibromyalgia be fatal.
Can Fibromyalgia Be Fatal?
Can fibromyalgia be fatal? The short answer is no. Fibromyalgia isn’t a terminal disease like cancer or AIDS. While cancer, if left untreated, will eventually cause tumors to spread around your body, shutting down vital organs, fibromyalgia won’t eventually kill you.
Fibromyalgia causes a feeling of intense pain throughout your body for reasons that we don’t fully understand. But while your pain may grow worse over time, and while become hard to live a normal life, fibromyalgia won’t start shutting down vital organs the way cancer does.
So fibromyalgia, by itself, will never kill you. Nor does it significantly increase your risk of dying due to natural causes according to scientific studies.
However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be concerned. Because there is something that kills fibromyalgia patients at a higher rate than the general public: suicide.
Suicide And Fibromyalgia
People with fibromyalgia are at a significantly higher risk of committing suicide than most people. It’s easy to see why, of course.
Fibromyalgia is a painful disease that slowly takes away your ability to do any of the daily routines that most people take for granted. Someone with severe fibromyalgia has a hard time taking care of themselves, or even going to the bathroom.
Meanwhile, they are increasingly isolated from friends and family who have a hard time dealing with the fact that the person they knew is slowly being replaced with a sick person who is in constant pain and no fun to be around. It’s completely unfair for people to feel burdened by your illness but the fact is that they do.
So not only are you dealing with a horrible illness, but the people you count on for support often drift away as your condition goes on.
And of course, on top of all this, add the fact that you are dealing with intense, chronic pain. Who could stand to live with pain so intense it feels like muscles are being pulled from the bone? And that’s not to mention a mental fogginess that makes it hard to function and constantly feeling deeply fatigued.
So it’s clear that people with fibromyalgia have some very good reasons to feel depressed. It would be profoundly dishonest for anyone to suggest otherwise. Meanwhile, fibromyalgia also causes depression and anxiety disorders.
What Does All That Mean For People With Fibromyalgia?
Well, basically, someone with fibromyalgia is stuck in a very depressing situation with a disease that alters their brain chemistry to make them more depressed and they are doing it alone quite frequently.
If you were trying to engineer a situation that would cause people to commit suicide, you couldn’t do much better than fibromyalgia. As a result, we have to look at the question “can fibromyalgia be fatal?” a little bit differently.
Because it’s very obvious that while fibromyalgia can’t kill you outright, it does drive many people who suffer from it to suicide. In fact, it’s estimated that more than half of people with fibromyalgia have had suicidal thoughts at one time or another. That’s why it’s so important to seek support when you have fibromyalgia.
It will drive you to suicide if you let it. And that would be a bad decision. On your worst days, it can feel like there is no other way out. 95% of suicides occur at the peak of a depressive episode. But for most people, there are days when you don’t want to die.
However, you can’t have those days if you’ve killed yourself. So the key to suicide prevention is to develop a network of coping mechanisms to help you get through the bad times. Seek out people that you can talk about your struggles with. And be honest and open about suicidal thoughts. There are people and resources you can turn to for help. You are not alone.