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As more information comes to light about Osteoporosis, it seems that many dancers may be at a higher risk than the average person.

Research is now showing that women lose up to 25% of their bone density in the first decade after menopause. Many sources are now suggesting that women get a baseline bone density report done right after menopause instead of waiting until 60 or 65.

Males generally are not screened until they are 80 unless other risk factors are present.

For both genders (the menstrual and menopause ones are female specific) risk factors that may affect dancers more than the average person are as follows:

  • Low body weight from pre-teens through young adulthood
  • Use of corticosteroid drugs - think prescription anti inflammatories and many of the asthma inhalers until recently
  • Smoking (current more than past)
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Delayed puberty
  • Early menopause
  • Infrequent menstruation in the premenopausal years
  • Eating disorders (past or present)
  • SSRI medications (many antidepressants)
  • Taking diuretics (past or present)
  • Crohns, celiac, or cushings disease
  • Severe depression
  • Excessive soda and carbonated beverage consumption
  • Low bone density can lead to increased fracture risk.

Even without insurance, a bone density test will be less expensive to your body and pocketbook than a fracture.

For more in depth information on female dancers and bone density, read the resource paper prepared by the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science available at http://www.iadms.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=212

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