Bone densitometry, sometimes referred to as a DEXA scan (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), is the gold standard for measuring the density of your bones to evaluate bone strength and the potential for bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is the most common type of bone disease. Osteoporosis occurs when the body fails to produce enough new bone or when too much existing bone is reabsorbed by the body. Osteoporosis is a condition in which there is a progressive loss in bone density and strength, resulting in an increased risk for bone fractures.
The most common risk factors are:
- Postmenopausal (no longer having periods)
- Early menopause (before age 45)
- Surgical menopause (the removal of uterus and/or ovaries)
- Previous bone fractures
- Family history of osteoporosis
- Certain medications (including steroids and thyroid hormones)
- Caucasian/Asian descent
- Thin or small build
- Eating disorders
- Alcohol abuse
- Inactive lifestyle
- Inadequate calcium intake,The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that all women over the age of 65 have a bone density scan unless you are at high risk, in which case your referring healthcare provider may recommend one sooner. The most accurate results are given when the testing is performed on the spine or hip. On the day of your bone density examination, it is best to wear a comfortable, two-piece outfit. Do not wear any items with metal or zippers as it may interfere with your results.
Your Results: Your healthcare provider will receive a computerized printout from the physician who interpreted your results and identify any areas of concern and will review the results with you. Bone density examinations are usually performed every two (2) years unless otherwise indicated by your healthcare provider.
What to Expect: You will lie on your back and on your side on a table while an overhead “arm” scans your body to take the reading of your bone density. You will need to lie still while the images are being taken in order for the images to be clear.
Preparation: Do not take any over-the-counter calcium supplements twenty-four (24) hours prior to the day of your examination. At Long Island Community Hospital Women’s Imaging, our leading-edge bone densitometry system uses low-dose X-ray that checks bone mass and signs of bone mineral loss. It is a simple, painless and noninvasive procedure that takes approximately 15 minutes. Calcium and phosphate are two minerals essential for normal bone formation, and if your body does not absorb enough of these minerals from your diet, bone production suffers and the bone thins.