Most people do not realize that stroke can strike at any age: when we are at the top of our careers, when we are beginning to raise a family, when we are still in school, when we are children, or even at the moment we are born or still in the womb. Most strokes do not result in our deaths. Most of us will recover. However, many of us will be left with some disability or persistent symptoms: difficulty speaking, difficulty walking, difficulty seeing in part of our vision, stiffness or pain in our limbs, lightheadedness and dizziness, headache, fatigue or trouble staying awake, depression and anxiety, and more. This can slow us down, stop us in our tracks and keep us from fulfilling our dreams.
However, we do not have to slow down or give up. At Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA, Stroke Neurologist Lester Y. Leung, MD, MSc has built a comprehensive, longitudinal care program for young stroke survivors to help navigate our lives after stroke. This program, the Stroke and Young Adults (SAYA) program, aims to help our individual needs. In some cases, this involves digging deeper into the cause of our strokes to help understand why it happened and how it can be prevented from happening again. For some of us, we need help managing new symptoms that we have developed weeks, months, or even years after our strokes. And for many of us, the program can help guide us and coach us through our recovery as we try to get our lives back on track and towards the goals we set for ourselves long before stroke entered the picture.