I'm a ballerina and at 25, I found out that I have osteopenia. // Why you should get a DEXA Scan now


What a way to set the title of this post right? How I wish this isn't true but it is.

This is my story. Let's go deep and talk about my body.

MY STORY.

I've been dancing ballet since I was 4 years old. Being a ballerina my whole life, I've never imagined myself having bone issues because that's just how I see myself and ballerinas in general. But growing up in the ballet world and witnessing my fellow ballerinas breaking bones due to unforeseen accidents and circumstances during rehearsals and all, I get confused how sometimes, they break their bones so easily from a fall. I mean, I strongly believe that we have strong bones because ballet is a difficult form of art. All our lives we do exercises that strengthens our muscles and bones. So why do we break our bones so easily?



I then have a love-hate relationship with drinking milk. Sometimes I drink milk everyday either before I go to sleep or in the mornings during breakfast. But sometimes I don't drink milk at all for months. Luckily though, I don't break bones when I slip and fall.

I started to become more aware of my ballerina body when I visited an ob gyne. She was my mom's batch mate who simply saw my photo on facebook and messaged my mom to ask if I have an irregular menstruation because that's a common issue of ballet dancers. So I visited and had a check-up and she explained everything to me. I found out that my body doesn't produce enough estrogen. Also, that's when I first heard that our bones (ballerinas')  are more brittle than the rest of the people.

I've also witnessed how my ballet teacher saw one of my balletmates possibly having scoliosis. She asked her to get it checked-up and she did. Results came in and she found out that she does have scoliosis.


Cutting this short, before I 'temporarily' stopped taking formal ballet training, there were no signs of me having bone problems because I slipped and fell in class and I didn't break my bones. There were also no signs of me having scoliosis because my very visible spine seemed to be looking normal.

Until I started questioning my spine and backbone in college. I met friends who take physical therapy course and I asked them to feel and check my spine haha because I really think that something's not right. One or two of them told me that I may have a 'mild' scolio. Of course I 50% believed and 50% didn't. Then came work and I met my bully best friend who took up nursing before he took up Interior Design.  He never told me that he thinks that something's wrong with my posture until I started telling him that I think something's wrong. We actually went on a vacation together so he saw my back but he never mentioned. I then started mentioning my spine, back, and bones to him regularly because I question them. I then constantly send him my back photos on vacations (like my beach or swim photos).  It was last year though that this photo made me really question my bones as to which he jokingly told me to just photoshop it before posting. haha


But whether or not I have a scoliosis is another story because I have yet to get a proper check-up for that.

Just to get a gist of my story though, I literally question my spine and my bones in general.

Being eager to go back to dancing ballet this year, I am preparing myself and my body in all aspects since it's been 9 years now since I stopped. I wanted to get my bones checked so I got a DEXA Scan.


WHAT IS A DEXA SCAN?

A DEXA scan or Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry is the clinical gold standard for measuring fat, muscle, and bone density. It uses two different types of waves that are reflected by lean muscle, and bone differently. The scanner uses this information to create a detailed map of your body and measure your body composition. Unlike any other body composition measuring tool, DEXA results are highly accurate and highly reproducible.


WHERE I GOT SCANNED

Last June 18, 2019, Tuesday, I went to Clinica Manila in SM Megamall and got my DEXA Scan. The process was smooth and quick once I had a schedule. I called the clinic a day before to schedule my scan but you can actually do a walk-in. I just wanted to make sure since SM Megamall is quite far from where I live.

The first thing I did was pay at the cashier (the scan costs around $69 or Php 3,600) then they instructed me to proceed to the x-ray area after.

There are two types of DEXA scan, the body composition analysis to know your accurate fat, and not just your weight, and the central bone densitometry, to know your risk for osteoporosis.

I chose the Central Bone Densitometry Dexa Scan as I really wanted my bones to be checked given that I'm a ballet dancer and because of the story I told earlier. Also, my grandma was diagnosed with osteoporosis so I wanted to prevent that from happening to me. As I'm also planning to go back to ballet, I'm taking steps to prepare myself as it's been years!




I filled up a form at the x-ray department and after filling it up, I went inside the x-ray room and changed my clothes into the x-ray gown from the clinic.

The process was quick. I just lied down for about 7-10 minutes and before I knew it, I'm done!

I got my result just after 2 days!


{This is Israel Rivera, Clinica Manila's Account Executive. You may call him for inquiries. I just met him that day actually and he's very approachable and nice..}


MY DEXA SCAN RESULT

I found out that I have osteopenia based on my DEXA scan result. I have osteopenia at 25 years old! I never imagined that I'll have low bone mass at a very young age. I've been dancing ballet ever since I was 4 years old and I'm active and I drink milk from time to time so I'm really surprised to have low bone mass at this age.


I'm sharing my result because I want you to see that it's always better to prevent than to cure. Surprised I maybe, but I'm grateful that I got scanned and I found out early that my bones are not the healthiest as of the moment so now, I'm taking steps to prevent worsening my condition.

Osteopenia is when the bones are weaker than normal but not so far gone that they break easily, which is the hallmark of osteoporosis.

Immediately after finding out that I have osteopenia, I researched on what it is. Now, I'm watching over my health and I've been drinking milk everyday (1-2 glasses a day) for calcium. I'm also planning to do regular weight-bearing activities and muscle-strengthening exercises as advised so most probably I'll be going back to ballet soonest. Also, I think I better stop working / laptop-ing on my bed because it's not healthy for my back and my posture.



After 12 months, I plan on going back for a follow-up bone density test to monitor my rate or bone loss. I think I will be assessed by then if I need to go to therapy. For now, I'll do as much as I can to have healthier bones and I will start prioritizing my health from now on especially my bones. I still want to pursue my ballet career, you know!






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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored article but my scan was provided free of charge by https://dexascan.com. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Clinica Manila is having the biggest sale! Get 50% off on DEXA Scan (Body Composition Analysis and Central Bone Densitometry), 2D Echo with Doppler, and Mammography. Please contact Israel Rivera, Account Executive, for the vouchers. The sale is available until the vouchers last so hurry and inquire!

Israel Rivera - 0906-334-1704

RaeAbigael

Rae Abigael J. Caacbay is a young creative who went through a quarter life crisis by the end of 2016. Though she's still lost, she keeps on moving forward anyway as a ballerina, visual artist, lifestyle blogger, and a BS Interior Design graduate based in the Philippines.

3 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear that you have osteopenia, I hope you'll be able to prevent further damage to your bones with a higher calcium intake. I don't know what causes low or high bone density, is it genetic or something. I did get a bone density scan once because I've been on bone damaging medication for about ten year and my doctor told me I have to do it, but the bones scan showed that my bones are normal. I don't drink milk but I drink a lot of yogurt and eat low fat cheese often enough. I also sometimes take calcium in form of pills.

    I have had a severe scoliosis since I was a kid. It is such an odd thing, I heard so many confusing and contrasting information about scoliosis, I almost don't know what to believe anymore. I once read that some ballet exercises (but not all of them, just some of them) might be bad for scoliosis, so it would be good to check whether you have it. There are many forms of scoliosis, most people don't notice mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ivana! Thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate :) I'm trying my best to prevent further damage. I also don't know what causes this :(

      I didn't know that you have scoliosis! Definitely not visible or obvious in your photos. Thanks also for letting me know that there are some ballet exercises that might be bad for scoliosis so I am now very eager to get my bones checked up!

      Have a wonderful week, Ivana! :)

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