Prince has never been one to shy away from his eccentricities. The music icon cemented himself as entertainment royalty with his unique musical arrangements, sultry vocals, and his raw and vulnerable stage presence.
Perhaps one of Prince’s most honest moments he shared with fans before his untimely death in 2016 due to complications with prescription medicine, was his quiet battle with epilepsy.
“I’ve never spoken about this before, but I was born epileptic and I used to have seizures when I was young,” he told former talk-show host Tavis Smiley in 2009. “And my mother and father didn’t know what to do or how to handle it, but they did the best they could with what little they had.”
This may come as a surprise to many since the multi-talented artist exuded power and strength throughout his entire career, but epilepsy is more common than we probably realize.
The CDC reports that about 3.4 million people have epilepsy nationwide: 3 million adults and 470,000 children. According to the latest estimates, about 0.6% of children aged 0-17 years have active epilepsy. Think of a school with 1,000 students—this means about 6 of them could have epilepsy.
What is epilepsy?
Per the National Epilepsy Foundation, it is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures (or after one seizure with a high risk for more) that were not caused by some known medical condition.
What are seizures?
Seizures seen in epilepsy are caused by disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. The seizures in epilepsy may be related to a brain injury, genetics, immune, brain structure or metabolic cause, but most of the time the cause is unknown.
What are the symptoms?
Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Seizure signs and symptoms may include: