Dexa Scan: Everything You Need to Know

An X-ray with great precision that assesses bone loss and mineral density is called a DEXA scan. You run the risk of developing osteoporosis and bone fractures if your bone density is lower than average for your age.

Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry is referred to as DEXA. In 1987, this method was made available for usage in businesses. It targets the bones with two X-ray beams, each with a different peak energy frequency. Soft tissue absorbs one peak, while bone absorbs the other. Your bone mineral density is the amount left over after deducting the quantity of soft tissue absorption from the total absorption.

Compared to a standard X-ray, the test is quicker, more accurate, and noninvasive. There is incredibly little radiation involved. The World Health Organization (WHO) determined that the most effective method for determining a postmenopausal woman’s bone mineral density is DEXA. Bone densitometry, or DXA, is another name for DEXA.

What Dexa Scan Can Diagnose?

A DEXA scan may be used by a medical professional to examine your bones in a few different circumstances, such as:

  • Determine the osteoporosis.
  • Determine the osteopenia.
  • Assess your risk of bone fractures.

A bone density test may be used by your physician to determine how your bones have changed over time, including:

  • Monitoring your bone loss over time and measuring the normal amount of bone loss that occurs as you age.
  • Testing your bone density prior to beginning any medicine or treatment that may have the unintended consequence of weakening your bones.
  • Assessing the response of your bones to osteoporosis or osteopenia medication. 

When Do People Need a Dexa Scan?

A DEXA scan could be necessary for everyone to examine their bone density. If your doctor wants to assess your fracture risk and bone density, they will recommend one.

Certain individuals are inherently more susceptible to osteoporosis and other disorders affecting their bone density. Certain demographics require routine DEXA or CT scans near me, such as:

  • Female assigned at birth (AFAB) who was over 65.
  • Male assigned at birth (AMAB) who was over seventy.
  • Older than 50 with a history of bone fractures.
  • Whose grandparents or biological parents suffer from osteoporosis.
  • Who, when measured at their tallest point, have dropped at least 1.5 inches of height (typically while you’re in your 20s).

Individuals with a higher risk of bone loss who are younger than the ages mentioned above can also benefit from routine DEXA scans. You can find out from your provider when and how frequently to have a bone density test. Your risk for problems with bone density may be increased by certain medical conditions or drugs, such as:

  • A few autoimmune conditions.
  • either consuming tobacco goods or smoking.
  • A problem with alcohol consumption or consuming more than three servings of alcohol daily.
  • A lack of vitamin D.
  • Steroids.
  • Certain kinds of cancer drugs.
  • Sertain immunosuppressive drugs.
  • Suppressants of hormones.
  • Several kinds of drugs for seizures.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are used to treat GERD and acid reflux.
  • The blood thinner heparin.

How is The Body Density Test Done?

A bone density scan operates as follows:

  • On a specialised X-ray table, you will lie.
  • You will receive assistance from a technician (a radiologic technologist) in positioning your body. In order to keep your legs in the right position, they may place foam blocks underneath or around you.
  • An arm that scans your body and takes photos of your bones will be passed over by the technician. In addition to scanning your hips and spine, technicians may also conduct scans of your forearms and other bones throughout your body.

A bone density scanner converts your bone density into computer graphics and graphs using two different forms of low-level radiation. It will appear that your bones are white. Soft tissue, such as muscles and fat, will appear as dark shadows on the background of the test images.

What Not to Do Before Dexa Scan?

It’s unlikely that you’ll need to alter your daily schedule in order to prepare for a bone density test. Generally speaking, you can:

  • Before your test, eat and drink.
  • Unless your physician instructs you otherwise, take all of your regular medications.
  • For your test, dress comfortably and loosely. Wear as little metal objects as possible, such as buckles, buttons, and zippers. Before the test, you must take off any metal-containing apparel and jewelry.
  • Do not take any over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins or calcium supplements the day before your test. List all of the vitamins and supplements you take for your provider. Before a DXA scan, they will inform you which ones you may and cannot take.

A DEXA scan cannot be performed within 24 hours of some other types of imaging examinations. When you plan your DEXA scan, let the scheduler know if you will be having any other testing. Typically, a scan test like CT scans near me takes thirty minutes or less. Depending on how many of your bones need to be scanned, the length of the test may vary.

What are The Advantages of Dexa Scan?

A bone density test carries relatively little risk. After the scan, you won’t experience any pain or negative side effects. A bone density test shouldn’t be performed on a pregnant woman. Inform your healthcare practitioner if you are or suspect you could be pregnant. Nearly everyone is safe to get a DXA scan due to the extremely low radiation level used, however pregnant women should try to avoid radiation of any kind.

Although some research has revealed that DXA scan readings and outcomes can differ between scanning machine manufacturers, you normally don’t need to worry about it. Your physician will track any changes in your bone density over time and, if necessary, recommend more or different tests.

Conclusion 

One useful technique for determining body composition and bone health is a Dexa Scan. It facilitates efficient treatment and management by assisting in the early detection of osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders by the provision of accurate measures. Gaining an understanding of the procedure, advantages, and planning helps allay worries and improve the precision of the outcomes. As recommended by medical experts, routine Dexa Scans can greatly support preserving ideal bone health and general wellbeing.

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