What's Wrong With the Yellow Wiggle

Greg Page Leaving Popular Kids' Group Called The Wiggles Due to Orthostatic Intolerance

By Michael  Smith, MD
WebMD Health News Perspective

Reviewed By Brunilda  Nazario, MD
on Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nov. 30, 2006 -- The lead singer of The Wiggles, the hugely popular group that entertains children, is leaving the band because of a medical condition known as orthostatic intolerance.

Greg Page, also known as the Yellow Wiggle, is having difficulty with walking, balance, speech, and coordination, according to a Wiggles news release.

Specialists treating Page think his symptoms may date back 12 years or so. However, recent issues with two hernias seem to have increased his symptoms significantly.

Orthostatic intolerance is generally not life-threatening but can lead to fainting from low blood pressure when someone stands upright. In most of us, our bodies compensate by increasing blood pressure to maintain blood flow to the brain and the rest of our body.

More than 500,000 Americans have orthostatic intolerance, according to the National Dysautonomia Research Foundation. It often affects people under the age of 35, affecting more women than men.

Orthostatic Intolerance Symptoms

In addition to the symptoms Page is experiencing, the low blood pressure from orthostatic intolerance leads to the following symptoms:

While the exact cause is somewhat mysterious, it's linked to a problem with the part of the nervous system that controls body functions we don't normally have to think about, such as breathing, heart pumping, and body temperature.

The cause of Page's orthostatic intolerance is unknown at this point.

Tough Decision for Yellow Wiggle

"This emotional decision was one which was very difficult, as I have dedicated almost half my life to The Wiggles, and with a question mark over my health, I feel that this is the right decision. I will miss The Wiggles and the other guys very much, as well as seeing all the children in the audiences that we perform in front of. I wish the guys continued success, and welcome Sam Moran with open arms to the Yellow Skivvy -- I know he is a great performer, and is well equipped to be the Yellow Wiggle," Page says in a prepared statement.

"Although orthostatic intolerance is not uncommon in the world population, its symptoms can be mild enough to remain undetected or extremely difficult to diagnose, or it can be dormant for a long time and brought on spontaneously by a trigger, sometimes something seemingly trivial, as it seems likely could be in Greg's case, or it could be the two hernias that he had last year," says John Watson, associate professor and neurologist at The University of Sydney, Australia, in a prepared statement.

"Then the symptoms can become chronic and incapacitate normally healthy active people to an enormous, and highly unpredictable, degree. Greg is fortunate he is not at the fully disabled extreme of the condition, but he is currently suffering a level of the condition that requires considerable further assessment and development of a plan to manage the condition, as it is not likely to be cured, but we expect we can minimize the impact on his life in the future," says Watson.

For more information on the symptoms and treatment of low blood pressure, read WebMD's series of articles on Understanding Low Blood Pressure.

For in-depth information on orthostatic intolerance, read this Emedicine from WebMD article, written for doctors.

SOURCES: Emedicine.com: "Orthostatic Intolerance: An Overview." News release, Thewiggles.com. National Dysautonomia Research Foundation.

© 2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.



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