A DEXA scan is a type of imaging test used to determine bone density (strength). The findings of a DEXA scan can reveal important information regarding your risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) and fractures (bone breaks). Body composition, such as body fat and muscular mass, can also be measured using this test.
The mineral content of the bones in specific parts of the skeleton is measured with a DEXA bone density test. It's a tool to track your bone loss as you get older. These examinations are commonly referred to as bone densitometry tests, or DXA.
A DEXA scan is a type of imaging test used in medicine. It measures how thick your bones are using very low amounts of x-rays. The term "dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry" stands for "dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry."
DEXA scans are the most useful, simple, and inexpensive diagnostic for diagnosing osteoporosis, according to medical professionals. The exam is painless and quick.
DEXA scans measure the mineral content in certain bones, such as the hip, spine and/or wrist. It works this way:
- You'll have to lie down on a specific DEXA x-ray table. The technologist will assist you in achieving the optimal position by using positioning equipment such as foam blocks.
- The DEXA machine's arm uses two separate x-ray beams as it goes over the body. The beams emit relatively little radiation, making the test safer and aiding in the differentiation of bone from other tissues.
- The data from the bone density assessment is converted into photos and graphs by the scanner. On the technologist's computer monitor, bone is most easily visible in white, while fat and muscle tissue appear as shadows in the background.
- A radiologist or other physician trained in DEXA interpretation reviews and interprets the results.
- A copy of the written report is sent to your healthcare practitioner so that they can review it with you and choose the best course of action.
- Increased age: As people become older, they lose bone mass. People at average risk for osteoporosis should obtain a DEXA scan starting at 65 (women) and 70 (men), according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
- Family history: You may be at a higher risk for bone loss if one or more family members have had osteoporosis.
- Previously sustained fractures: Breaking a bone, especially after the age of 50, may indicate that you're more vulnerable. Porous (less dense) bones are more prone to breaking.
- Medications: Some medications might weaken your bones, including the steroid prednisone, cancer therapies, and pharmaceuticals used after an organ transplant. These medication takers might need the examination.
- Your general wellbeing: Many chronic medical conditions can increase your risk of breaking your bones. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes, liver illness, and kidney disease are all risk factors.
- Keep track of how your bone health evolves over time.
- Keep track of how you're responding to treatments, such as osteoporosis medicine.
- Examine your body composition, including how much fat and muscle mass you have (and where).
A DEXA scan takes about 25 minutes on average. Many people enter and exit the room in under 30 minutes.
Not at all. As the X-ray beams run through your body, you won't feel a thing.
Depending on how you're positioned on the table, you can feel a little uneasy. However, you'll only need to hold that position for a few moments.
DEXA scans are known for their precision and accuracy. DEXA scans are considered an accurate diagnostic for diagnosing osteoporosis by medical authorities.
DEXA machines, unlike x-ray equipment, are verified daily for their capacity to reliably measure bone mineral, and no two DXA machines are alike.