Fibromyalgia: Life Expectancy and Mortality Rate

Fibromyalgia itself does not increase the rate of mortality, but a recent study found that accidental deaths and suicide risk increased for fibromyalgia patients.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and reported by Doctors Lounge, aimed to find out whether or not fibromyalgia patients had an increased risk for mortality. Over the course of 35 years, the researchers followed about 8,200 fibromyalgia patients and compared their death rates to that of around 10,000 osteoarthritis control patients. The rates were nearly the same.

Doctors Lounge explains the results in detail:

The researchers found that there were 539 deaths with an overall standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 0.90. Among the 1,665 clinic patients, the SMR was 0.92. There was no increased risk of mortality seen among patients with fibromyalgia compared with those who had osteoarthritis.

When comparing the data to the general US population, they found an increased risk of suicide (an odds ratio of 3.31) and accidental death (odds ratio of 1.45).

Adrienne Dellwo at the About.com Fibromyalgia blog notes that accidental deaths may seem like a strange occurrence among fibromyalgia patients, but are not surprising in light of some of the diseases symptoms.

Dellwo says:

We tend to be clumsy, and our cognitive dysfunction (fibro fog) may make it dangerous for us to drive. Also, accidental overdose can happen due to forgetfulness, desperation or both.

The study was originally published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

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