Missy Elliot Battling Rare Disease

By Eric Alt
|  Thursday, Jun 23, 2011  |  Updated 11:51 AM PDT
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Missy Elliot Battling Rare Disease

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Hip hop star Missy Elliot has learned to live with the rare condition known as Graves' Disease

Missy Elliot, the hip hop performer and producer behind such hits as "Get Ur Freak On" and "Pass That Dutch," has just revealed that she has been battling a rare disease for the past three years.

Three years ago, according to an interview she gave with People magazine, Elliot was diagnosed with Graves' Disease, an auto-immune disorder that leads to over-activity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid controls the body's metabolism, and Graves' Disease can be debilitating.

"I was [driving and] trying to put my foot on the brake, but my leg was jumping," Elliot says in the interview. "I couldn't keep the brake down and almost crashed. I couldn't write because my nervous system was so bad -- I couldn't even use a pen."

Elliot also experienced hair loss while undergoing radiation treatment for the disease, as well as mood swings.

The disease can be treated, but there is no cure.

"I'm 30 pounds lighter because I've been exercising," says the 39 year-old. "My thyroid is functioning, so I haven't had to take medication in about nine months. [But] you live with it for the rest of your life."

Elliot is currently at work on a new album.

Selected Reading: People, Billboard, E! Online

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