Diets high in trans fat may heighten the risk of ischemic stroke in older women, however taking aspirin may help counteract this risk, a new study finds. According to a recent news release from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, the study encompassed 87,025 generally healthy postmenopausal women aged 50 years to 79 years. Study participants whose diets contained the greatest amounts of trans fat were 39% more likely to have an ischemic stroke than women who ate less trans fat. 

UNC researchers add that study participants who took aspirin over an extended period of time, exhibited no link between trans fat consumption and stroke risk. The results suggest that regular aspirin use may counteract trans fat intake’s adverse effect on stroke risk among women. The study notes that women who consumed the highest amount of trans fat were also more likely to be smokers, have diabetes, and be physically inactive, and have lower socioeconomic status than those who consumed the least trans fat.

Researchers report that they did not observe any link between ischemic strokes and the consumption of other types of fat, such as saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat.

Study author Ka He, ScD, MD, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the UNC, notes that the, “study base of older women may have increased our ability to detect the association between trans fat intake and ischemic stroke among non-users of aspirin.” Lead author, Sirin Yaemsiri, doctoral student, UNC epidemiology department, echoes He’s sentiment and adds, “Our findings highlight the importance of limiting the amount of dietary trans fat intake and using aspirin for primary ischemic stroke,” Yaemsiri says.

Source: UNC