Have you ever wondered what your body fat percentage (BF%) was? What your bone mineral density (BMD) was? If you were at risk for osteoporosis? is? Unless you were a competitive bodybuilder or you’ve diagnosed with the aforementioned bone condition: probably not. However, assessing and improving those two measures can have a positive impact on your general health. There are several ways this occurs; including lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease, increasing your testosterone levels, and improving your mood. We will dive more in depth with these in a later blog. For now, we need to know how we’re going to measure BMD and BF% let alone how to improve them.
What is the DEXA?
DEXA stands for dual energy x-ray absorbiometery. It uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of your body. Typically, this includes the hips, lumbar spine, and sometimes the wrist. The scan then analyzes these pictures to calculate how dense your bones are or if you’re at risk for fractures. Currently, it is the gold standard diagnostic tool for osteoporosis. The DEXA also measures body fat percentage, fat mass, and fat free mass.
This scan is non-invasive, simple, and quick. A scan is highly recommended for special populations such as post-menopausal women, those with type 1 diabetes, and those with either suspected, diagnosed, or a family history of osteoporosis. At Princeton Longevity Center, the DEXA scan is part of your comprehensive physical examination. CT technicians specially trained in diagnostic equipment perform this scan
How to prepare for the DEXA
On the day of your exam, there are several ways to prepare. You may eat and drink normally. Do not take calcium supplements at least 24 hours prior to you exam. Be sure to wear loose , comfortable clothing free of zippers, belts, or buttons. Remove all jewelry and body piercings. Notify the technician and your doctor if you recently have had a barium examination or have been injected with contrast material during your CT Scan. All of these precautions are to ensure the DEXA scan does not falsely read anything other than bone as such; compromising your results.
Now that you’re familiar with the DEXA scan, we will discuss in our next blog how to interpret your results!
“Bone Densitometry (DEXA , DXA).” Radiologyinfo.org, Radiological Society of North America, Inc, www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=dexa.
“Bone Density Scan (DEXA Scan)- How It Is Performed.” NHS Choices, NHS, 7 Mar. 2019, www.nhs.uk/conditions/dexa-scan/what-happens/.
“DEXA Scan: Purpose, Procedure, and Results.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324553.