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What Is A Bone Density Scan?

Traditional X-rays are not the most accurate in determining bone mass. Doctors today use Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, otherwise known as DEXA. This technology specifically looks for calcium and other minerals that naturally occur in healthy bones.

Why do people get a bone density scan?
Most people get a bone density scan if they are concerned about Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the weakening and thinning of bones, which occurs in many women(and some men) as they get older.

When should I get a bone density scan?
Women who are postmenopausal or on hormone therapy should get a bone density scan. Also, women over 65 should get a scan once year. If your family has a history of fractures, start yearly exams at 60. Men should ask their doctor if a bone density scan is appropriate.

What happens when I get a bone density scan?
Usually you lay down on a table while the machine scans over your body. There is no pain associated with the scan and the radiation you're exposed to is minimal. The procedure takes about 20 minutes.

What do the bone density test results mean?
DEXA bone density scans are measured using a "T-score." The T-score is a measurement of how much your bone density varies from a young, healthy adult. A score of under -1 is considered normal. Between -1 and -2.5 indicates Osteopenia, a less form of Osteoporosis. A score of -2.5 or higher indicates Osteoporosis.

A "Z-score" is also available. This score takes age, weight, and ethnic origin into account. Sometimes this score can be more helpful than a T-score in determining if there is abnormal bone loss.

How can Vitality Medical help me maintain bone density?
Your physician should recommend a comprehensive plan for maintaining bone density. He or she may recommend a low-sodium, high-protein diet as well as exercise. Vitality Medical offers a variety of nutritional drinks to help you get your recommended calcium and Vitamin D.

Sources
Bone Density Scan
Bone Density Test: Measure Your Risk of Osteoporosis
Bone Density Tests
Once Is Enough: A Guide to Preventing Future Fractures

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