DEXA Bone Density Test
Our bones and their strength are what allow us to do the things we love, especially our favorite physical and outdoor activities; however, low bone density can greatly impact the strength and health of your bones. Your doctor will determine if a bone density test is necessary for you. Each test is completed in our state-of-the-art Imaging Center.
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.
why get a dexa bone density test at elfp?
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.
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