Tool for Early Recognition and Early Diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteriitis and Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Earlier Recognised? Earlier Diagnosed ? Better Prognosis !

Welcome on the Symptomatrix websites of the Marijke Foundation.

Without excluding others, the Symptomatrix may be of significance for women and men aged appr.

45 years and over who suffer from complaints that do not decrease and are without a diagnosis.

If such complaints are a combination of:

fatigue and apathy

physical malaise and/or weakness

  stiffness in joints and/or muscles

  headaches, migraine

 stiffness of the jaws

 changed eyesight

 reduced eyesight, blindness

a temperature

sensitive scalp

bloated arteries of the temples

  painful jaws when chewing

  tongue problems

  bleakness, depression

  poor or lack of appetite

  unusual loss of weight

  unusual perspiration, night sweats

it may very well be a sign that Giant Cell Arteritis and/or Polymyalgia Rheumatica are developing.

If your complaints are indeed a combination of those above and you do not have a diagnosis, we

recommend that you fill out the Symptomatrix form, next to print it out and finally to present the

Symptomatrix to your family doctor for further discussion.

Click here to continue with the 'Recognition/Diagnostic Symptomatrix'.

» Patients who already have a diagnosis Giant Cell Arteritis and/or Polymyalgia Rheumatica and are

being treated or already cured, are invited to fill out the 'Feedback Symptomatrix'. Their data are

important for the epidemiological research of the Marijke Foundation. This research is the source

for continuous fine tuning and improvements of the Diagnostic Symptomatrix.

Click here for the 'Feedback Symptomatrix'.

Version 3.0 © 2003-2017  Marijke Foundation / Symptomatrix Team - Amstelveen / The Netherlands          Dutch Reg. ANBI   RSIN 8124.26.101  

Editors: Dr. Ron Voorbij MD PhD, Han Kruyswijk      website design: Marijke Foundation   webhosting: Dutchwebhosting


Giant Cell Arteriitis (GCA) is a rheumatic inflammation of medium and large size arteries, a vasculitis.
It is mainly found in the arteries of the head, in particular in the temples.

A number of scientifically determined characteristics of the disease is

listed above and in the following Symptomatrix.

By rare exception, resulting from delay in diagnosis and consequently

delayed treatment, the disease may turn into a multiple condition and

can progress fatally.

Usually, but not always, patients suffering from GCA also suffer from

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR).

PMR is an ailment with inflammation of the muscles, in particular those

in the neck, shoulders, upper arms, pelvis and upper legs. Significantly,

pain is in both sides of the body.

Both illnesses can be cured successfully, provided they are recognized and diagnosed as early as possible:

Early Recognition > Early Diagnosis = Better Prognosis.

GCA and PMR are usually considered as auto-immune illnesses.

They belong to a group of six to eight thousand Rare Diseases, also referred to as Orphan Diseases.

The Symptomatrix © : Why ?

Practice shows that it is not always possible to determine the mutual connection in complaints and

consequently to recognise GCA and PMR timely.

Complaints/symptoms are quite often treated individually and for quite

some time, for instance as side effects of cold or as aches and pains

that may disappear by physiotherapeutical treatment. Typically without

results: the complaints persist or return.

As a result frequently (too) much time elapses before the diseases are

properly diagnosed and adequate treatment is started. Consequently

patients quite often have to suffer from unnecessary progression of

GCA and/or PMR, with all its consequences and risks.

With the slogan: Earlier Recognised > Earlier Diagnosed = Better
Prognosis, the Symptomatrix helps to overcome these problems and
to shorten the process of diagnosis significantly.

General Practitioner

Without doubt the family doctor is the right person for a diagnosis or

referral to a specialist for the purpose.

Thus, the Symptomatrix is not meant to be a tool for uncontrolled

self-diagnosis. It is just an expedient for patient and family doctor

to arrive at a rapid diagnosis.

Filling out and printing the Symptomatrix

Click here to fill out and print the 'Recognition/Diagnostic Symptomatrix'
and next to present the Symptomatrix when you visit your family doctor or specialist.

Each year, world wide, an estimated

number of 4 million patients come

to suffer from these rare diseases,

of which appr. 15% from GCA.

Both diseases are more common in

women than in men by a ratio of 3:1,

and more common in white than

coloured patients.

The majority of patients is born

 and/or live in regions with a colder

climate. So, the diseases are rarer in

warmer areas of the world.

Complaints, like headache, a temperature

and stiffness are quite common.

Only rather unique combinations of

symptoms are characteristic of the

rare diseases GCA and PMR.

Examples of such combinations are:

1. fatigue, stiffness of the jaws, painful

jaws when chewing, headache, changing

or reduced eyesight, blindness

(irreversible, most feared)

2. headache, a temperature, tongue

problems, sensitive scalp, bloated arteries

of the temples, stiffness in joints and

muscles, poor or lack of appetite.

And any combination of 1. and 2.

A growing number of people search the

internet for an explanation for their

complaints. This results in efficient

cooperation between family doctors

and patients. A well prepared patient,

 in this respect with the help of the

Symptomatrix, supports the family

doctor in most cases in fast recognition,

rapid diagnosis and instant treatment of

GCA and PMR.

Symptomatrix, intro






Marijke Foundation

Refs. Symptomatrix

Contacts and Supporters


Symptomatrix, filling out

Complaints, no diagnosis

Treated/cured: Feedback

© 2017 Marijke Foundation - Amstelveen, The Netherlands                               Webdesign: Marijke Foundation with WebPlusX8

Anyone using the Symptomatrix (to present to the GP or to provide feedback information) is entitled to download free of charge the e-book ‘a matter of time’, published in 2017 by the Marijke Foundation, by clicking here.