A DEXA scan is a high-precision type of X-ray that measures a person’s bone density and body composition. DEXA scans can identify long-term health risks, including osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances, and more. Who should schedule a DEXA scan appointment, and how often you should follow up, depends on your personal health goals and what you’re trying to achieve. Here’s what you should know before booking your first appointment.
DEXA Scans for Bone Density
A DEXA scan measures your bone mineral density and can detect bone loss. If your bone density is lower than normal for your age, it indicates a risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. Who should schedule a DEXA scan appointment for bone density? That depends on your age and personal risk factors.
Your doctor may recommend a test:
If you’re a woman over age 65 or a man over 70
If you have symptoms of osteoporosis
If you break a bone after age 50
If you have a family history of osteoporosis
If you have a low body mass index
If you’ve experienced height loss of over an inch
If you have multiple risk factors of osteoporosis
The scoring system for the scan measures your bone loss against that of a healthy young adult, and it is called your T score. If your T score indicates risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia, your doctor will prescribe treatment options and you will schedule a follow-up DEXA scan appointment to track the progress of your treatment. If you have a normal T score, the general recommendation is to schedule a bone density test every 2 years.
DEXA Scans for Body Composition
Another use for DEXA scans is to measure body composition. DEXA is much more accurate than the traditional body mass index (BMI) in determining the exact percentages of body fat and lean muscle mass. Getting an overall picture of your body can be helpful to assess your personal weight loss or muscle building goals.
With the help of a physician or personal trainer, you can tweak your exercise program or nutrition plan to get your desired results. When using body composition measurements for fitness purposes, the recommendation is to schedule a follow-up within 3 months of your initial baseline scan. Spacing out your DEXA scan appointments will give your body enough time to adapt to plan and develop substantial changes.
Schedule A DEXA Scan Appointment
DEXA scans are great for providing a general health assessment, addressing specific health risks, or to help you crush your fitness goals. The procedure is quick and non-invasive, making it easy to fit into your busy schedule. Take control of your health and schedule a DEXA scan appointment today.