DEXA Bone Density Test
Strong bones help you do the things you love.
Roughly 54 million Americans aged 50 and older live with osteoporosis, causing more than 8.9 million fractures each year.
Our bones and their strength are what allow us to do the things we love, like our favorite physical and outdoor activities. However, low bone density can greatly impact the strength and health of your bones. At Eagles Landing Health, our doctors can determine if a DEXA bone density scan is necessary for you, which allows us to diagnose and monitor a patient with significant bone loss.
What is a DEXA Bone Density Scan?
A DEXA (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) Scan monitors the health and strength of your bones, assessing your risk for fracture. This scan can determine the density of any bone (bone mass) and is most frequently used for the hip and lower spine (lumbar). It can also detect osteoporosis, which is the gradual loss of calcium in the bones, putting you at greater risk for bone fractures or breaks. By detecting osteoporosis in the early stages, our Eagles Landing Health providers can help slow the progression of the disease – in hopes to prevent further bone loss and fractures.
How does a DEXA Bone Density Scan work?
A DEXA Scan sends two low-dose x-rays to calculate bone mineral density, with the amount of radiation being very low – about 10% of a normal chest x-ray. The lower the density, the more risk for bone fracture and osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones). It is the most accurate approach in predicting future risks of bone loss. During the scan, patients will lie down with their legs laying flat or resting on a platform to elevate them slightly. This quick and painless test will take roughly 10 to 30 minutes to perform before patients are on their way.
Why get a DEXA Bone Density Test at ELH?
Quick & Painless
The test is fairly quick and painless. We just ask that you avoid calcium supplements such as Tums or multivitamins.
Not all doctors routinely schedule a bone density test for all patients. So if you show risks for certain conditions (osteoporosis) or are nearing a stage in your life (menopause), we will schedule a test as apart of your preventative care.
Each test is completed in our state-of-the-art Imaging Center.
A report will be ready within 24-48 hours and then you will be called to schedule a follow-up appointment.
Though women are 4x more likely to develop osteoporosis, men are 2x more likely to die shortly after a hip fracture due to osteoporosis.
Our DEXA Bone Density scanning equipment, at our state-of-the-art Imaging Center, has the newest software to give patients the most precise diagnoses. Not only will our high-tech machine deliver a more accurate form of an x-ray than a standard x-ray machine, but it also provides the most accurate diagnosis – allowing us to monitor a patient with substantial bone loss before it progresses. A DEXA Scan is also a vital tool for diagnosing osteoporosis, which typically progresses without any symptoms or pain until a fracture occurs. Not only can it detect the disease at an early stage, but it allows our providers to start treatment early on to help protect your bones sooner.
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The visit was fast. The staff was very professional and answered any questions that I had.
Tyniece M. | Imaging Center Patient
What is a bone density test?
A bone density test, or a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) is a test that uses a small amount of X-ray to take pictures of your bones and then calculates their density to determine their strength.
Why do you need a bone density test?
If you are a post-menopausal woman, you may be at risk for developing osteoporosis, which causes bones to lose calcium and other minerals that keep them strong. Osteoporosis can cause fractures in hips, forearms, and even in the spine. These fractures can severely limit physical activity and can often result in surgery or hospitalization.
How does the test work?
When you come in for a test, you will lie on a bed underneath the scanner and the low-dose X-rays form a fan beam that rotates around you. During the test, the scanner moves to capture images of your spine, hip or entire body. A computer then calculates your bone strength and density by comparing your results to the average results of your age group and younger age groups in the U.S. The test takes about 20 minutes to complete and is painless.
What do the results mean?
A normal test will show that you have the same bone density (or better) as the average, healthy 30-year-old man or woman. An abnormal test shows that you have two to four times the risk of breaking or fracturing a bone compared to your age group and younger age groups. Extremely low bone densities can result in a diagnosis of osteoporosis. If your test shows that you have a borderline normal bone mass, you should repeat the test in two to five years.
How do you prepare for the test?
You should take all prescribed medicines regularly, but you should avoid calcium supplements such as Tums or multivitamins. Avoid wearing any clothing with metal or any jewelry.
What health factors are indicators that I need a bone density scan?
Not all doctors routinely schedule a bone density test for all patients. However, the following factors may indicate a patient needs a bone density scan:
- Patient is at risk for osteoporosis
- Patient is near menopause
- Patient suffers a broken bone after a modest trauma
- Patient has family history of osteoporosis
- Patient uses steroid or anti seizure medications
- Patient has had a period of restricted mobility for more than six months
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a disease that occurs when the bones become thin and weak. Osteoporosis happens when the bones lose calcium and other minerals that keep them strong. Osteoporosis begins after menopause in many women, and worsens after age 65, often resulting in serious fractures. These fractures may not only bring disability, but may affect longevity of life.