Missy Elliott on How She Manages Graves' Disease after Living with It for Years

Missy Elliott opened up about living with an autoimmune condition called Graves' disease.

Iconic rapper Missy Elliott opened up about her health issues in a speech at the ninth annual Essence Black Women in Music event in New York where she was honored with the Visionary Award.

Elliott revealed that she has been living with a serious autoimmune disease since 2008, and credits her faith with her recovery.

"I was sick and I couldn't even lift a pen. My nervous system had broken all the way down. I didn't come up in here in a wheelchair. Nobody helped me get up here. I'm walking...by the grace of God." Missy Elliot


The rapper admitted that her physical condition had deteriorated to the point in which she could hardly walk. 

Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid, is usually treated with medication, but Elliott manages her disease with diet and exercise.

"I was on medication for a short while but have been off it for quite some time now. I manage the condition through diet and exercise," she said.

Graves' disease occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to overproduce thyroid hormone.


Elliott believes that it is her unconditional faith in God that has pulled her through the dark days of her illness, and has helped her regain her health and compose music again.


Elliott received her award at the hands of her longtime friend and fellow musician, Janet Jackson.

"Creativity is a beautiful thing. And when creativity flows so freely from a musical genius, all we can do is express gratitude. I am so grateful for Missy's beautiful soul," Jackson said.


Neither the audience nor Elliott was expecting the award, which was a surprise to the visibly moved rapper. She took the opportunity to open up about her relationship with Jackson.

"That was a surprise. I've known Janet [for] over a decade and this is not just someone that I do music with. I can call Janet at any time of the night...and she will listen. The times that I may have felt like giving up, she's always gave me an encouraging word and I've watched her as a strong, black, powerful woman who's had to overcome many obstacles. And so I just wanted to say I appreciate you for inspiring me," Elliott said.

We can say the same about Elliott, who has inspired generations of black women rappers to keep making their music and opened the way for the musicians such as Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Remy Ma, and Asian Doll.


Missy Elliott was diagnosed with the hyperthyroidism disorder known as Graves' disease after she nearly crashed a car from having severe leg spasms.

The severe symptoms conditioned her life and she revealed that she could barely hold a pen to write.

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid.

It affects approximately 1 in 200 people and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States.

Graves' disease occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to overproduce thyroid hormone.

Thyroid hormones control how the body uses energy, and affect every organ in the human body.

If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause serious problems with the heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle, and fertility. 

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