“Gossip Folks” is more than the title of one of Missy Elliot’s biggest hits. The game-changing producer, songwriter, rapper and singer had to deal with some “gossip folks” in real life after being M.I.A from the music scene battling a serious health condition: Graves’ disease.
“I couldn’t write because my nervous system was so bad – I couldn’t even use a pen,” the Grammy-winning artist told People magazine.
Elliot was diagnosed with the condition in 2008 after involuntary jerking in her leg – effects of the disease – caused her to nearly crash her car.
After making the diagnosis public in 2011, many were unfamiliar with this debilitating disease. Here are some of the facts:
What Is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. According to the Mayo Clinic, Graves’ disease happens when too much thyroid hormone is produced, also known as hyperthyroidism.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms include: double vision, insomnia, fatigue, muscle weakness, rapid heart rate and tremors. In addition to the leg tremors, Elliot says she also suffered mood swings, hair loss and much-speculated dramatic weight loss.
“I’m 30 pounds lighter because I’ve been exercising,” Elliot explained at the time.
The condition can be treated with proper diet and exercise, in addition to radiation therapy and medications that help to shrink the thyroid gland.
Elliot continues to perform, most recently opening up the 2014 BET Awards with Pharrell Williams, proof that living a normal life after diagnosis is possible when the disease is caught early enough and managed properly. Here’s hoping a new solo album is on the way soon!