London: Rheumatoid arthritis can affect women`s personal lives.
A study by the University of Leeds finds that 40 percent of single women with the disease encountered hurdles in finding a partner.
Another 22 percent of divorced or separated respondents singled out arthritis as the reason for their decision to separate from their partner.
Sixtyeight percent of women reported concealing their pain from those closest to them, and 67 percent said they constantly looked for new ideas to address the pain they suffered.
Key results from data collected across seven countries -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the US and Canada -- highlighted the health-related emotional, social and physical impact of the problem on women`s lives.
Physical pain has such an affect on women that it impacts negatively their intimate relations.
"These data confirm that pain is a paramount issue for women with rheumatoid arthritis, fundamentally striking at the heart of their physical, social and emotional wellbeing," said Paul Emery, president of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR).
"The adoption of treatment pathways and strategies to reduce pain, reinstate productivity at work and manage the social impact of rheumatoid arthritis is of huge importance in the clinical management of this patient population," said Emery, who is also professor at the Leeds University.
The survey explored the negative impact of the disease and pain on respondents` productivity at work. Almost three quarters said they were less productive at work because of the disease.
A total of 27,459 women aged between 25 and 65 years were recruited for the study.