Stroke in younger people

Stroke is often considered an illness of old age, but many younger people are also affected by stroke. In fact, the number of younger people having a stroke is increasing. About 1 in 4 people who have a stroke are below the age of 65.

Many parts of recovery and rehabilitation after stroke are similar regardless of age. However, there are some issues that may be more relevant to younger people after stroke. In particular these include:

  • Misdiagnosis - because many people think that stroke only happens to older people, the symptoms are often not recognised as a stroke. This can cause delays in treatment.
  • Work life - many people who have had a stroke are able to return to work. It may not be in the same capacity as fatigue, memory problems and concentration issues can affect how you are able to do your job. Some people will not be able to work, or feel it is now the right thing to do for them. If this is the case for you, try to see it as a new opportunity to "make something good" from what as happened.
  • Finances - if you are unable to work or are working reduced hours, this can place a significant strain on you and your family. Your partner may also have to take time off work to provide the necessary care for you. There may be benefits and help that you are entitled to. For more information, contact the CHSS Advice Line nurses.
  • Family life - it may be that your role in your family life will have changed as you may not be able to do the things that you could do before. Your partner may have to take over financial responsibility for the household or have to care for the children more than before. change in roles, caring for young children. Your children may have difficulty adjusting and may need support through this.
  • Hidden symptoms - in young people the lasting effects of a stroke may not be visible. This may lead others to think that everything is fine. Talk to people and try to explain how you feel.

Connecting with other people who share similar experiences can be a very helpful part of your recovery. CHSS has support groups across Scotland. These groups are run by people who have also been affected by a stroke or other long-term condition. To find out if there is a group near you, call the Advice Line nurses.

Many strokes can be prevented. Everyone can reduce their risk of stroke by making a few simple lifestyle changes. For example, exercising regularly, eating healthily and getting your blood pressure checked.

For more information about how you can reduce your risk of stroke see the CHSS booklet Reducing the risk of stroke (PDF).