Our bodies change in lots of ways throughout our lives—even our bones. The older we get, the more susceptible our bones are to breaks and fractures due to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Bone density (DEXA) scans are a great tool to monitor bone health and diagnose treatable issues to help keep your bones strong throughout your life.
What is a DEXA Scan?
Answer: a tongue twister. But an important one. (DEXA) Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scans, also known as Bone Density scans, use low dose radiation to capture images of your bones. Primarily, they measure the amount of calcium and minerals present. Based on that data, specialists can determine if you've suffered bone loss and are at greater risk for bone injury.
Though conditions like osteoporosis generally affect people over 50, age isn't the only indicator that you may be suffering from bone loss. Experts recommend receiving a DEXA scan if you can answer "yes" to any of the following.
- Are a man age 70 years or older (60 or older with certain risk factors)
- Are a woman age 65 or older
- Are menopausal
- Are postmenopausal with certain risk factors
- Break a bone after age 50
- Have lost over 1 inch of height in the last year
- Have unexplained back pain
- Use medications that cause bone loss
*Please note: for a DEXA scan, you'll need a script from your doctor. If this is an issue for you, please contact us.
What to Expect
The Day of your DEXA scan
Ready to go?
- Avoid wearing jewelry, glasses, and watches (or have a safe place to store them during your test)
- Eat normally before your exam
- Stop taking any calcium supplements 24 hours before your appointment
- Wear comfy clothing that doesn't have any metal accessories (zippers, buttons, or clasps)
Upon Arrival at Akira of Albany
Come on in
- At the reception desk, you'll receive some papers to fill out. Please ask any questions, or share any concerns you may have.
- A technician will help you get prepared for the scan. They will provide a gown if necessary and lead you into the exam room.
During your DEXA bone scan
Take a load off...
- For the DEXA scan, you'll have to lie flat on your back on the exam table. Your Akira tech will help position your body so that the scan can capture the best possible images. This shouldn't be uncomfortable–so if you're in a position that doesn’t feel good, please inform the tech.
- When you're ready, the arm of the x-ray machine will be positioned above your stomach. The arm moves slowly, capturing multiple images. This may take a few minutes.
- Once complete, the tech will make sure the images come out clear. If so, you're all set. Enjoy the rest of your day.
Everything you need to know about your bones from T to Z
- Your results will be sent to your doctor, who will work with you to develop a treatment plan, one supportive of long-term bone health.
- During your discussion, your doctor will most likely talk about your scans in terms of T score and Z score.
- T score compares your bone density to a healthy, young adult of the same gender. It is used to determine whether or not you may have osteopenia or osteoporosis.
- Z score compares your bone density to someone of comparable age and size, as well as gender. It is used to determine whether or not there might be another underlying health factor responsible for bone loss.