Ho Ho Ho!? Santa’s health habits are no merry matter

You better watch out, you better not ask why but it’s time to get honest about this jolly old guy. Santa Claus is one of the most beloved and recognized figures in the world. Also well-known are his sometimes unhealthy habits and lifestyle – like his weight. Jolly old St. Nicholas, lean your ear this way. Hilton Head Hospital has health advice for you so you won’t need sick pay: 


1. Overweight:

Symptoms: Mid-section shakes like “bowlful of jelly”

Concerns: Heart & vascular disease, obesity

Recommendation:  Santa Claus’s extra weight puts him at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and stroke. Lay off the sweets, hit the gym and look into a weight loss program.

2. Bad Knees & Back:

Cause: Slinging sacks of toys up and down chimneys, arthritis from age

Recommendation: Enroll in a weight control programs and head to the gym. It might be time Santa looked in to a possible knee replacement. He could also check out Hilton Head Hospital’s free knee pain guide at: http://info.hiltonheadregional.com/HHH-Knee-Pain-Solutions-5.html

3. Nose like a Cherry:

Concerns: Could be a sign of eczema, rosacea, wind burn, sun burn or frost bite

Recommendation: An annual skin cancer screening or a visit to the dermatologist is suggested. Check for allergies to reindeer, mistletoe and holly. Also, rosacea is often triggered by alcohol so lay off the spiked egg nog.

4. Infectious Diseases:

Cause: Working in close proximity with under-the-weather elves and reindeer

Recommendation: The best stay-well winter strategy is a flu shot. Keep the stables clean and wash hands often when working with animals.

5. Diabetes:

Cause: Christmas cookie diet, obesity

Recommendation: Try grabbing fresh fruit or share some carrot sticks with the reindeer instead of giving into the Christmas Eve cravings. Getting out for regular walks with Mrs. Clause will help Santa stay away from a sedentary life which can make diabetes worse. For more info, get in touch with our Diabetes Outreach Coordinator or learn more about our Diabetes Self-Management Program at (843) 682-7348.

6. Lung Cancer:

Cause: Corn-cob pipe smoking, exposure to large amounts of chimney soot

Recommendation: Stop smoking immediately. Seek help from Hilton Head Hospital’s smoking cessation support group at (843) 682-7365. Find alternative means of access to dwellings when delivering presents.

7. Snoring:

Cause: Restless sleep due to worry over elf productivity in the workshop

Recommendation: Take part in a sleep study to make sure snoring isn’t a result of sleep apnea.

8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Cause: He makes lots of lists and he checks them twice

Recommendation: Dictate text with speech-recognition software on your computer or talk to Siri on your iPhone to minimalize stress on hands and wrists.

9. Sleigh & Chimney Safety:

Concerns: Wounds from constantly bumping into the sleigh, roof-tops and chimneys

Recommendation:  Chronic wounds can get worse when coupled with diabetes, circulatory problems and immobilization brought on by sitting in a sleigh for long periods. Infection control and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are some of the things that help with healing. Find more info at Coastal Carolina Hospital’s Center for Hyperbarics and Wound Healing on the Bluffton Medical Campus.

10. Psychological Problems:

Manifestation: Unreasonably jolly all the time

Indication: “North Polar Disorder” 

Recommendation:  Immediate evaluation by a mental health professional

Many of Santa Claus’ problems stem from his weight, and he’s certainly not the only one. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it’s estimated that the average person gains between one and two pounds. 


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