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 © 2003-2014 Marijke Foundation / Symptomatrix Team - Amstelveen / The Netherlands Dutch Reg. ANBI RSIN 8124.26.101
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.
Without doubt your 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 you and your 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
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.