Women's lack of body strength means they are more likely to feel pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis than men, it has been revealed.
According to new research, which analysed data from 6,000 rheumatoid arthritis patients in 25 countries, although men and women may have the same level of the disease, women will experience more severe symptoms.
Dr Tuulikki Sokka, a consultant in rheumatology at the Jyvaskyla Central Hospital in Finland, who led the research, found that although X-rays show the level of rheumatoid arthritis to be the same, joint tenderness in women appears to be more severe.
She said the difference was also more obvious in older women, who were losing their muscle mass and were forced to give up everyday tasks to someone who stronger.
Dr Sokka said: "X-rays only measure damage, which is not a very valuable tool in the everyday clinic, so we need to rely on what patients tell us.
"We found that women tell us they have more severe symptoms and we believe this relates to how strong women are. It's obvious that men are stronger with a higher muscle mass."