It’s hard to believe by looking at the 11.5” cultural icon, but Barbie is celebrating her 53rd birthday today. Perhaps her life in plastic is the reason she looks so great for her age but the Society for Vascular Surgery is putting a different spin on the doll’s birthday – noting that Barbie has always maintained an active lifestyle.
The organization is using the milestone to highlight the importance of women’s vascular health issues.
“Women in their 50s should remain active,” said Kellie Brown, MD, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “Thirty minutes of exercise daily, eating healthy, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight are key to good health.”
The organization points out that since Barbie’s debut in 1959, great strides have been made in women’s healthcare.
In the past 53 years researchers have acknowledged that the smaller neck arteries (carotid and vertebral) in women result in quicker buildup of plaque which restricts blood flow, leading to strokes and heart attacks.
Women over the age of 65 are also more likely to develop clogged or narrowed arteries in the legs without displaying peripheral arterial disease (PAD) symptoms, the society says. Women with PAD have four times the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Another stride researchers have made in the area of women’s vascular health, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery, is recognizing that women’s smaller arteries result in more fatalities from abdominal aortic aneurysms, which continue to be under diagnosed in women. Because of this, the organization says non-invasive vascular screenings are even more important for women.
“In many instances, an active lifestyle may prevent life-threatening vascular conditions,” Brown said. “Physical activity such as walking, swimming, aerobics, and dancing can help reduce blood pressure and keep the body healthy. Better still, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a great example to set for our daughters.”