June 25, 2011 / 12:08 AM / 8 years ago

Missy Elliott says Graves' disease not so grave

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rap star Missy Elliott on Friday insisted her battle with the thyroid malady Graves’ disease has not sidelined her career, a day after it was revealed that she has the ailment.

U.S. hip-hop singer Missy Elliott performs onstage during the 44th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux July 5, 2010. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

“I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease about three years ago, but it really hasn’t slowed me down at all,” Elliott said in a written statement.

Elliott, who gained fame in the 1990s and whose hit songs include “Get Ur Freak On” and “Work It,” has won four Grammys but has not released an album since 2005’s “The Cookbook.”

Some media reports on Thursday speculated that the long delay since her last album could be due to the illness, first diagnosed in 2008.

The 39 year-old Elliott talks about her Graves’ disease in a taped interview for the VH1 cable show “Behind the Music” set to air on June 29. She describes how it shut down her nervous system and caused her hair to fall out.

But on Friday, Elliott said her condition has recently improved.

“Under my doctor’s supervision, I’ve been off medication for about a year and I’m completely managing the condition through diet and exercise,” she said.

Patients with Graves’ disease have a thyroid gland that overproduces the hormone thyroxine, which can affect a person’s appearance and energy level.

The disease is incurable, but symptoms can be handled with treatment, according to medical organization the Mayo Clinic.

Elliott said on Friday that, far from being inactive, she has since her diagnosis toured Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia and written and produced Grammy-nominated songs for Monica, Keyshia Cole and Jazmine Sullivan.

Elliott is working on an album tentatively titled “Block Party,” with producer and rapper Timbaland.

Editing by Jill Serjeant

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