Does Santa Have Dysautonomia?

We all know that Santa Claus visits millions of children around the world on Christmas. But what about his health? How is he doing?

Santa’s medical chart says he’s a 1,746 year-old married male with a jolly disposition.

santa3He consumes an excessive amount of cookies and milk at least one night per year, but his big black belt with a few extra notches suggests he’s probably a cookie fiend all year long. While Santa’s big belly is part of his lovable charm, his extra weight puts him at risk of hypertension and diabetes. 25% of all diabetics develop autonomic neuropathy, especially people who have had diabetes for a long time (like 1700 years…).

Santa may be of Scandanavian descent, which puts him at higher risk of developing celiac disease. If Santa has celiac disease, those cookies will turn him into a jolly old ball of inflammation that can lead to autonomic neuropathy.

Santa’s red flushed face may be simply due to the cold wind he encounters while flying around the globe at high speeds. However, it could also be mast cell activation syndrome, which can occur with some forms of dysautonomia. We think he needs an appointment with Dr. Lawrence Afrin, and in the meanwhile, he may want avoid MCAS triggers (especially reindeer poop!).

Santa Smoking
Santa was a smoker for the first 1700 years of his life. He quit in the 1980s. Before this, he was often seen with a pipe. Smoking increases the risk of hypertension, stroke and heart disease – all of which involve some element of autonomic dysfunction. His friend Frosty the Snowman still smokes sometimes, exposing Santa to second hand smoke. And let’s not forget the exposure to chimney soot that Santa breathes in every year! Dr. Svetlana Blitshteyn suggests that Santa see his doctor to get screened for lung cancer, given his 1700 year history of smoking and chimney soot exposure. She notes that in rare cases, some forms of lung cancer can cause paraneoplastic syndrome, which can cause dysautonomia.

Santa’s says his heartbeat feels like jingle bells. Since the heart rhythm is set by the autonomic nervous system, this may be a form of dysautonomia. Santa’s cardiologist ordered a 24-hour Holter monitor to keep an eye on things as he delivers presents this Christmas, but Santa’s insurance company denied coverage for the test. We know who’s going on the naughty list this year!

snowyhillsWhen Mrs. Claus came down with the same jingling heart condition, the doctor at Snowy Hills Hospital emergency room told her there was nothing wrong and it was all in her head.

Prancer wanted to leave a special present on that doctor’s windshield in honor of Mrs. Claus and all of the female elves who have been treated the same way at Snowy Hills Hospital, but Rudolph convinced him that hosting a physician education course with Dysautonomia International at Snowy Hills Hospital was a better way to educate doctors about jingle heart syndrome and other forms of dysautonomia. Dr. Blair Grubb, being the first to discover jingle heart syndrome when he was four years old, will travel to the North Pole next year to teach the doctors at Snowy Hills Hospital about this complicated and often misdiagnosed condition.

While Santa’s tests results are always normal and everyone says “he looks fine,” he has several risk factors for developing dysautonomia.

You can do your part to keep Santa healthy! Skip the cookies and milk this year, and leave him organic locally-grown free-range kale chips and freshly pressed home-grown almond milk. #KeepSantaHealthy #KaleNotCookies

Happy holidays from all of us at Dysautonomia International! We wish you and your family a joyful holiday season and a happy, healthier new year!

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