Missy Elliott Reveals Battle with Graves’ Disease

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Rapper Missy Elliott in New York City on October 16, 2010.

She’s been fighting the ailment for the past three years. But the rapper isn’t ready to sing her swan song just yet.

Wondering why you haven’t heard much from Missy Elliott since 2008? The 39-year-old has been battling the debilitating Graves’ disease, she reveals.

But Elliott reports that her fight against the disease has much improved. Over the past three years, she’s gone from “Lose Control” to “Work It.” But the onset of the illness was the toughest to handle. “I couldn’t even use a pen,” the Grammy winner said, because the disease took stranglehold of her nervous system.

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And tremors are just one symptom of the disorder. Graves’ disease takes on the immune system, causing overactivity of the thyroid gland. Since the thyroid is the gatekeeper of the body’s metabolism, hyperthyroidism often leads to dizzy spells, mood swings and hyperactivity. Her first sign of something wrong came when she was driving one day, trying to keep her foot on the brake, but her leg kept jumping.

Despite its name, Graves’ disease isn’t as grave as it sounds. Elliott is controlling the disease with radiation therapy, which led to weight gain that she’s currently keeping under control through exercise. Millions live with the disorder on a daily basis, with no long-standing symptoms if treated properly.

And best of all, Elliott is hard at work on her seventh album, Block Party. Work it indeed, Missy.

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