It's a tough job and we're glad he does it. What ailments would Santa have at his age, in his physical condition and given his lifestyle?
We asked doctors for their diagnosis, only to find the jolly old man in the red suit suffers from morbid obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Still, he’s well into his hundreds and shows no signs of slowing down, so children shouldn’t worry.
EYES - Diabetic retinopathy, which can damage the small blood vessels in your retina, the back part of your eye. Diabetes also increases the risk of glaucoma and cataracts.
MENTAL STATE - Depression, secondary to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the result of not enough sunshine and vitamin D.
EARS - tinnitus and early deafness, as the result of loud bells jingling all the way, and the incessant chattering of elves.
NOSE - allergic rhinitis and hayfever from allergy to smelly pine Christmas trees.
HAIR - patchy, as a result of alopecia from the stress of delivering presents all around the world in one day and not missing anyone.
HEAD - headaches from repeated concussion and subdural haematomas from hitting his head going up and down chimneys lugging heavy loads. Resultant memory loss.
SKIN - carotenemia (orangey skin) after eating too many carrots left out for him by the world’s children.
CHEST - bronchitis as a result of smoke inhalation in chimneys where people have neglected to put out their fires on Christmas Eve.
NECK - cervical radiculopathy from disc and joint overload -- years of carrying very heavy sacks can be a pain in the neck, with pins and needles there and into his arms.
SHOULDERS - ‘‘Popeye’’ arms (ruptured biceps tendons) from heavy lifting.
HEART and LUNGS - Hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes, cardiovascular disease resulting in angina, heart attacks, strokes. Overweight, likely due to poorly controlled diabetes with high sugar intake and lack of regular endurance exercise. Cold induced Asthma from working in freezing cold conditions.
LIVER - Alcohol damage from partaking too much in gifts left out for him over many years.
ARMS/HANDS - Psoriasis on the skin from no sunlight, stress, and always wearing white gloves. Frostbite from regular exposure of extremities to extreme cold when driving the reindeer (his gloves do not appear to be the quality merino variety)
LOWER BACK - Low back degenerative arthritis secondary to disc prolapses and degenerative changes associated with inadequate sack lifting techniques, poor abdominal and back muscle control, and a lack of fitness.
HIPS - judging by his age (he’s over 100 years-old), they’re likely to be dodgy.
BOTTOM - He has haemorrhoids (piles) from prolonged sitting on hard sleigh seats, often in icy environs.
ABDOMEN - hernia from being overweight and using poor lifting techniques.
KNEES AND HIPS - arthritis from over a century of carrying heavy loads, as well as being grossly overweight.
CALVES AND THIGHS - deep vein thrombosis from prolonged sitting with minimal leg exercise while flying long-haul distances.
ANKLES AND FEET - plantar fasciitis and achilles tendinosis both and ankles and feet, his boots are poorly designed for his work, and he is out of shape.
TOES - crush injuries from being trodden on by reindeer.
* Thanks to Wellington SportsMed partners and staff
- The Dominion Post