July 12, 2023 -- People who experience chronic pain and tiredness from fibromyalgia may be at a higher risk of death, a new analysis of evidence says.
The condition can lead people to be vulnerable to accidents, infections, and even suicide, according to the report published in RMD Open.
The researchers suggest that care providers monitor physical and mental health to lower the dangers.
People with fibromyalgia often have other health issues, including rheumatic, gut, neurological, and mental health disorders, according to BMJ, the peer-reviewed medical trade journal. More and more people are being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The cause of the illness remains unclear.
The researchers looked at eight studies published between 1999 and 2020 and pooled results from six of them. The studies involved a total of 188,000 adults.
The analysis of the data revealed that fibromyalgia was linked to a 27% greater risk of death from all causes.
Those with fibromyalgia were at a 44% greater risk of infections, including pneumonia. Their suicide risk was more than three times higher.
The greater risk of all-cause death could result from fatigue, poor sleep, and concentration problems, BMJ said.
The patients had a 12% lower risk of dying from cancer, the analysis found. This could be because they tend to make more visits to health care professionals, the authors suggest.
“Fibromyalgia is often called an ‘imaginary condition,’ with ongoing debates on the legitimacy and clinical usefulness of this diagnosis. Our review provides further proof that fibromyalgia patients should be taken seriously, with particular focus on screening for suicidal ideation, prevention of accidents, and prevention and treatment of infections,” the researchers say.