A new study has pointed out that nearly 72 percent of women with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) experience pain daily, despite the pain relief medication.
Furthermore, the physical pain appears to affect women to such an extent that it impacts negatively on emotional and social aspects of their lives.
Key results from data collected across seven countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, USA and Canada) highlighted the health-related emotional, social and physical impact of RA on women's lives.
Women with RA reported suffering feelings of detachment and isolation and said hat their condition had negatively affected intimate relationships; with 40 percent of single women stating that it was more challenging to find a partner and 22 percent of divorced or separated respondents indicating that RA played a role in their decision to separate from their partner.
Sixty eight percent of women with RA reported concealing their pain from those closest to them, and 67 percent said they constantly look for new ideas to address the pain they suffer.
"These data confirm that pain is a paramount issue for women with RA, fundamentally striking at the heart of their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. The research highlights the complexity of the management of RA, and the pain associated with RA, over and above basic symptom control," said Professor Paul Emery, President of EULAR and arc Professor of Rheumatology, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Leeds, UK.
"The adoption of treatment pathways and strategies to reduce pain, reinstate productivity at work and manage the social impact of RA is of huge importance in the clinical management of this patient population," he added.
The survey further explored the negative impact of the disease and pain on respondents' productivity at work with 71 percent of those who were employed at the time of the survey, reporting they were less productive at work because of their RA.
Many respondents reported that RA had a long term effect on their work life, with 23 percent of respondents stopping work altogether and 17 percent of respondents reporting a switch to part-time employment as a result of their RA.
The study has been presented at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy.