Bone Densitometry (DEXA)
Bone densitometry is a simple and quick scan used to determine a patient’s bone density. Specifically, it measures bone minerals (calcium) and bone density to determine if the patient has osteoporosis – a condition in which bones have lost minerals, especially calcium – and to monitor patient reactions to osteoporosis treatment.
Who should have a bone densitometry scan?
- All women age 65+
- Women who are postmenopausal, under age 65, with one or more additional osteoporosis risk factors (see below)
- Women who are postmenopausal who have suffered fractures
- Women who either are or have been on hormone replacement or estrogen replacement therapy for prolonged periods
- Women considering therapy for osteoporosis who want a scan to facilitate the decision
Common risk factors for developing osteoporosis include:
- Advanced age
- History of a fracture, after age 50, or stooped posture
- Estrogen deficiency
- A diet low in calcium
- An inactive life style with little or no exercise
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Low body weight and body mass index
- Thyroid disease
- Use of certain medication (steroids, anticonvulsants, excessive thyroid hormone, certain cancer treatments, heparin therapy)
- Low testosterone levels in men
- Take No VITAMINS or CALCIUM supplements on the day of your exam.
- It is best to wear metal-free clothing and avoid metal fasteners such as zippers or buttons, as well as bras with metal underwires.
- Inform your technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.