Trans Fat Linked To Increased Stroke Risk

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Researchers have found another way the stuff that makes a lot baked goods, fried foods and processed foods taste so good is bad for you.

A new study found trans fat specifically, which you'll now find indicated on labels, is the culprit. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found postmenopausal women with a diet high in trans fats are at higher risk for certain types of ischemic stroke.

Stormont-Vail Education and Development Specialist Susan Gray, RN, BSN, explains that blood gets to the brain through the arteries in the neck. Fat can clog those arteries and either a piece breaks off or a clot forms in the brain, causing the most common types of stroke. Gray says fat is needed in the diet, but there are good fats and bad fats - trans fat being among the bad.

No matter what you eat, Gray says it's vital to know the early signs of a stroke. She says every second there is a blockage to a part of the brain you are losing thousands of brain cells.

An easy way to think of the symptoms is the acronym FAST. "F" is how it affects the face - does their smile droop on one side. "A" is their arms - stretch them out and see if one starts to drift. "S" is for speech - is it slurred or garbled or can they not think of the words. "T" means time to call 911 and get an ambulance. Gray says EMS crews know what information to look for and can relay it to the hospital staff ahead of a patient's arrival so they're immediately able to start treatment.

Gray also points out that smaller strokes, known as lacunar strokes, can happen without you even knowing it and set you up for the larger, ischemic varieties. The study found trans fats also increased the incidence of those, which is all the more reason to make sure it's not on your plate.

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