A DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) bone density scan is used to determine how strong your bones are. DEXA bone scan results can indicate whether you have osteoporosis.
DEXA is a type of X-ray that shows your doctor the strength of your bones as compared to that of an average young adult. Your doctor may want you to have DEXA scans periodically to keep an eye on how your bones are changing over time.
The test is noninvasive, pain-free, and usually takes less than 30 minutes. DEXA scans use very low amounts of radiation to provide detailed images of your bones.
Who Should Get a Bone Density Test?
Let’s explore some of the main gender, age, and other variables that may determine whether you should have a DEXA bone density scan:
Women Over Age 65
If you are a woman over the age of 65, you are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all women over age 65 have a DEXA scan.
Following menopause, women experience a loss in bone mass that should be monitored in order to prevent fractures or other injuries. Women can lose up to 20 percent of their bone density by 7 years after menopause. White and Asian women have the highest risk of osteoporosis.
Women Under Age 65 After Menopause
Women under age 65 who have passed menopause should have a DEXA bone scan if they have a family history of osteoporosis, or if they have suffered a fracture following a fall when there has not been enough force to break a healthy bone. Many times, osteoporosis is not suspected until after a fracture occurs.
Men Over Age 70
Although you are generally at a higher risk of developing bone loss if you are a man over the age of 70, not all men is this age range need a DEXA bone scan. If you have other risk factors or suffer a fracture, especially in the hip, a DEXA scan will indicate whether you need treatment for osteoporosis.
A sharp reduction in testosterone from prostate cancer treatment, for example, may cause significant bone loss in a short period of time.
Preexisting Health Conditions
Your doctor may recommend a bone scan if you have one or more of these risk factors:
- Thyroid problems
- History of eating disorder
- Prolonged use of steroid medications
- GI disorders such as Celiac or inflammatory bowel disease
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Excessive alcohol consumption and/or smoking
- Small frame
None of these risk factors alone is a definite indication that you will develop osteoporosis; but if you have two or more, you should be screened with a DEXA bone scan.
Bone Scanning Center in Palm Beach County
If your doctor prescribes a DEXA bone density scan, rest assured: There is no special preparation involved, and there is no discomfort during the scan. The results will help determine how you can protect your bones from further loss while living a safe and active lifestyle.
Independent Imaging offers complete imaging services in four convenient locations across Palm Beach County, including Wellington, Lake Worth, Belle Glade, and Royal Palm Beach. If you receive a referral from your physician for a DEXA bone scan, our friendly staff will help to answer your questions every step of the way.
Call us at (561) 795-5558 if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online now. We look forward to giving you a comfortable, seamless experience.