A Bone Densitometry test is used to measure how strong your bones are. It is commonly used to identify osteoporosis, a condition that causes a decrease in the density of bones resulting in fragility, and to determine a person’s risk for developing fractures. If you’re at risk, talk to your doctor about scheduling a bone density scan.
DEXA is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density (BMD). If your doctor agrees you’re eligible, your insurance should cover the cost of the scan. Your health care provider will most likely recommend a Central-Machine test, which will scan over your spine, hips or your total body.
For 10 to 20 minutes, you’ll lie still on a table as a wand scans over your body. It’s painless, noninvasive and the radiation is low. You’ll need to schedule a follow up appointment with your doctor after you’ve been scanned to discuss your results.
The DEXA scanner uses two X-ray beams; one high energy and one low energy. It will measure the X-rays that pass through the bone from each beam. This will vary depending on how thick your bone is. Based on the difference between the two beams, the machine determines your bone density.
Women are 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis due to their lighter, thinner bones and longer life spans. Statistically being asian or caucasian also puts you at higher risk. Or, if you have a narrow build.
Bone density peaks at age 30 and then decreases over time. This is why it’s important to do strength training, weight bearing exercise and to include enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.