Ho Ho Ho!? Santa’s Health Habits Are No Merry Matter

Dec 10, 2015

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. Piedmont Medical Center has health advice for you so you won’t need sick pay: 

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. For someone like Santa and others dealing with obesity, check out Piedmont’s surgical weight loss program. See if you might be a candidate by attending one of our free seminars.

Bad Knees & Back:
Cause:  Slinging sacks of toys up and down chimneys, arthritis from age
Recommendation: Enroll in a weight control program and head to the gym. He could also check out Piedmont Medical Center’s free knee pain guide. It might be time Santa looked in to a possible knee replacement.

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.

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.

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. Check out Piedmont Medical Center’s Diabetes Support Group that meets the first Thursday of every month.

Lung Cancer:
Cause:  Corn-cob pipe smoking, exposure to large amounts of chimney soot
Recommendation:  Stop smoking immediately. Seek help from Piedmont Medical Center to quit smoking. Find alternative means of access to dwellings.

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. You can get more information about Piedmont Medical Center’s Sleep Center by calling (803) 980-0622.

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.

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 out more about the Piedmont Wound Care Center by calling (803) 329-2900.  

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.  Jimmie Sherrill, Community Wellness Nurse at Piedmont Medical Center, is available to discuss Santa’s health and lifestyle changes for 2016.


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