PURPOSE: We describe self-reported consequences for physical and cognitive functions, detect possible gender differences, and find factors that were associated with deteriorated physical function in younger stroke patients, independent in their personal activities of daily life. METHODS: This study involved all first ever stroke patients, aged 18-55 years, registered in the Swedish national quality register for stroke. A questionnaire was answered by 1068 patients 8-36 months after the stroke. Changes were sought in physical and cognitive functions as compared with the pre-stroke condition. RESULTS: Eight hundred and sixty-seven patients (83%) were independent in personal activities of daily life. Significant differences between men and women were found: deteriorated physical ability was reported by 56-71% of the men and 65-79% of the women; deteriorated cognitive function was reported by 48-57% of the men and 57-68% of the women. Many patients (70% men, 77% women) reported that they had received insufficient information about physical exertion. Significant associations were found between deteriorated physical function and deteriorated cognitive function as well as fear of physical exertion. CONCLUSIONS: Deterioration was found in physical and cognitive functions greater in women then in men. Insecurity regarding physical exertion existed indicating that younger stroke patients might need information directly aimed at physical functioning and more gender specific than today. This study has raised the awareness that there also might be gender differences in other fields, which needs further studies.