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). A DEXA Scan, when used for bone density testing, as opposed to body composition, requires a doctors prescription. If your doctor agrees you’re eligible, your insurance should cover the cost of the scan. 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.
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.
A Bone Density Scan Can Benefit Everyone. However, It Is Absolutely Imperative To If You..
Are female and older than 65
- Are female, menopausal or post menopausal and:
- Under the age of 45
- Under the age of 65 with other risk factors
- Not taking estrogen
- Over 5 feet 7 inches tall
- Weigh less than 125 pounds
Are male and older than 70
Are male and have clinical conditions associated with bone loss
Have broken a bone over the age of 50
Have lost more than an inch of height
Have unexplained back pain
Have personal or family history of:
- Hip Fracture
- Use medications that are known to cause bone loss (including corticosteroids such as Prednisone, various anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin and certain barbiturates or high-dose thyroid replacement drugs)
- Have Type I Diabetes, Liver Disease or Kidney Disease
- High bone turnover (shows up in the form of excessive collagen in urine samples)
- Thyroid condition, such as Hyperthyroidism.
- Parathyroid condition, such as Hyperparathyroidism.
- Experienced a fracture after only mild trauma.
- X-ray evidence of vertebral fracture or other signs of osteoporosis
- Are a heavy drinker
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.
Several risk factors have been linked to osteoporosis in men. After age 50, 1 in 4 men will have a osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Some risk factors include undiagnosed low levels of the sex hormone testosterone, unhealthy lifestyle habits and race. White men appear to be at particularly high risk, but all men can develop this disease making weight bearing exercise, calcium and vitamin D very important.