Trans fats increase risk of stroke in postmenopausal women

Postmenopausal women who had the highest trans fat intake [6.1 grams/day] had a 39 per cent greater incidence of stroke compared to those who consumed less [2.2 grams/day]

Women who are past menopause will benefit from watching their intake of trans fatty acids. A study published in Annals of Neurology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society, suggests that postmenopausal women who consume higher amounts of trans fats are at an increased risk of ischemic stroke. Baked, fried and packaged foods are known to be high in trans fats.

Postmenopausal women who had the highest trans fat intake [6.1 grams/day] had a 39 per cent greater incidence of stroke compared to those who consumed less [2.2 grams/day]. Researchers found no significant associations between total fat, other types of fat, or dietary cholesterol. However, aspirin use was shown to reduce the association between trans fat intake and stroke.

Ischemic stroke is a result of a blockage in an artery leading to the brain. Previous research suggests that increased incidence of cardiovascular disease—one of the risk factors for stroke—is associated with trans fat consumption. However, in other prior studies no significant association was found between dietary fat intake and stroke.

"Our findings confirm that postmenopausal women with higher trans fat intake had an elevated risk of ischemic stroke, but aspirin use may reduce the adverse effects," concludes Dr. He. "We recommend following a diet low in trans fat and adding an aspirin regimen to help women reduce their risk of stroke, specifically following the onset of menopause," said Dr. Ka He who undertook the study, which is the largest study of stroke in postmenopausal women to date.

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