Will Fibromyalgia Kill Me?
The short answer is: no.
However like most things in life FMS is a little more complicated than that.
The long answer is: mostly no.
In July 2010 a study was published entitled Mortality in Fibromyalgia. Over 8,000 patients (with 10,000 arthritic controls) contributed to this study who were monitored over the course of 35 years. One of the physicians conducting the study was Frederick Wolfe, one of the men responsible for the diagnostic criterion that are used today to diagnose FMS.
The study proved that FMS has no malignancy on its own. However there were a number of deaths caused by suicide and fewer by accidents (mostly likely related to fatigue and fibro fog).
Here’s the problem,
Because FMS is considered a ‘nebulous’ and ‘controversial’ diagnosis, even today, and because it is an invisible illness sufferers are far too often asked that terrible question, “Are you depressed?” Which probably makes most of us want to respond, “I’m not imagining it, jerk, and wouldn’t you be?”
In August, 1996 Dr. Kevorkian (nicknamed Dr. Death for his assisted suicides) assisted in the suicide of Judith Curren, a woman who suffered from both CFS, FMS and who was allegedly in an abusive relationship. Her death sparked a massive controversy, she wasn’t the only FMS sufferer who was assisted by Dr. Kevorkian.
Depending on which study you consult sufferers of FMS are 9 - 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the community. Regardless of what one may hear from the occasional doctor FMS is not caused by depression but they do have a correlative link. A link that I’m sure everyone who has FMS fully understands.
So, I suppose the real answer to the question Will Fibromyalgia kill me? Is It’s up to you.
Morbid as it may be to consider I doubt that there are very many people with FMS who have not asked themselves whether this disease has made their lives no longer worth living. However, the truth is that once the problem has been considered the majority of us have come to the same conclusion, yes, life is worth living.
It’s my opinion that the high rate of suicide among fibro-mites is due mostly to the controversy and mis-information that surrounds our condition. Even today fibro-mites suffer:
-Friends and family members doubting the reality of our condition
-Condescension from equally doubtful doctors
-Plenty of literature (mostly on the internet) to support those doubts
And all of this is only after we are diagnosed, which for many people can take as many 20 or 30 years.
Fortunately the world is changing. As FMS researcher Dr. Mackey from Standford University said, this last decade was a decade for pain research within the medical field and FM sufferers have benefited greatly from that research.
Today we know that FM is a neurological disease. We know it’s causes and mechanisms and with brain imaging technology we can even see it. Today there are many well-researched options for both medication and non-medical treatment.
And finally there is a wealth of literature on the internet. From articles like this (and plenty of others on Hubpages) to forums, support groups and medical sites that are spreading awareness.
Fibromyalgia awareness is finally spreading as it should, like wild fire. There are still battles to be fought along the way but once even MS was considered a “nebulous and controversial” condition. Our time will come and we can already see it on the horizon.
The internet has given sufferers the opportunity to band together to offer condolences, advice and support that we’ve never had before. This medium will be able to save the lives of fibro-mites all over the world. No one need suffer in silence anymore. No one needs to feel that FMS has left them with no other options.