Former Yellow Wiggle Greg Page was diagnosed in 2007 with Orthostatic Intolerance. Greg has helped establish with seed funding an important research project that you can also contribute to. The Greg Page Fund for Orthostatic Intolerance raises money to support Baker IDI research into this debilitating condition. 100% of funds raised go direct to the research – donate now.
When you stand blood tends to 'run to your boots', collecting in the veins of your legs and abdomen, momentarily reducing the return of blood to the heart where it is needed for the pumping action which maintains blood pressure and blood flow to the organs of the body at normal levels. The body has reflexes, involving an autonomic stimulant system called the sympathetic nervous system, which in healthy people almost immediately adjust to these changes with standing, making the veins less stretchy and causing the heart to pump at a faster rate, so that blood pressure falls very little and blood flow to the brain is well maintained.
In some people these automatic responses fail, such as to cause one of several disabling disorders of control of the circulation, because the heart and blood pressure controlling reflexes do not come into play as they should. 'OI', short for Orthostatic Intolerance (the term literally means 'intolerance of standing') is a prime example of these disorders, the one which struck down Greg Page, the former Yellow Wiggle. Symptoms brought on by standing include dizziness, sometimes leading to fainting, a racing heart beat, weakness, chest pain and incapacity to think clearly ('brain fog' as described by some OI sufferers).
There are several other conditions which are similar to OI, almost identical in their disabling symptoms, but apparently different in their basic cause. One closely related to OI is POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome), special features of which are that the heart really races on standing (as high as 160 beats per minute) and that fainting sometimes occurs even without a fall in blood pressure.
OI and these related disorders do involve a failure in one form or another of the sympathetic nervous system circulation reflexes. Baker IDI is trying to uncover the causes of OI and these related conditions, to provide a clear path to diagnosis of each, and a logical basis for treatment. Our molecular research on the sympathetic nerves is providing some exciting leads. At present treatment is sometimes but not always helpful, as it is often not firmly based on an accurate diagnosis, or on a sufficiently precise understanding of the primary, initiating cause. Through our research we will endeavour to overcome these deficiencies.