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Bone Density Testing (DEXA Scan)

A DEXA scan (also known as a bone density test) is the gold standard test to accurately measure your bone mineral density (BMD) and assess your risk of developing a major fracture due to osteoporosis.

 

Yuba City Advanced Imaging Center has the newest technology available in the area for bone density testing, the Hologic Discovery DEXA scanner. This machine combines the value of bone mineral density (BMD) measurement and Instant Vertebral Assessment (IVA) to give you a quick and accurate reading of your T-score.  Utilizing a “OnePass technology”, our DEXA scanner delivers amazing fast, high-resolution images with precision and low patient dosage.  Radiation exposure during bone densitometry is extremely low, less than the radiation exposure during a coast-to-coast airline flight.  Your bone health and patient safety are of ultimate importance to us.

 

 Benefits of our DEXA scanner:

·        Low radiation exposure.

·        Your results incorporate the latest assessment of your ten year probability of fracture, called FRAX (World Health Organization Fracture Risk Assessment Tool).  This is in additional to your T-score.

·        Our DEXA scanner is capable of precisely analyzing your total body fat (your total body composition – fat, muscle and bone) – this is the only such advanced DEXA scanner available in our local market.   Body Fat Analysis (BFA) is a valuable test in weight loss tracking (knowing your body bone, muscle and fat composition).

Preparing for a bone density exam:

1.      Wear comfortable clothing without zippers or metal if possible (the metal creates a false reading). Patient gowns are also available.

2.      Avoid calcium supplements 24 hours before a bone density exam.

3.      Do not schedule nuclear medicine or studies requiring contrast material like Barium prep two days before your bone density exam since the contrast used in these tests will also cause a false reading.

Procedure:  Patient lies on the DEXA table as the scanner passes across the body, collecting data. A scan takes about 10 minutes.  The test is safe, non-invasive and fairly comfortable.

DEXA scanner

Understanding your Bone Mineral Density Test Results:

Your bone density test provides you with important information you need to know about your bone health.   Here are two DEXA scores (#1 & #2 below) you should know to understand your bone health:

1.      T score - This number shows the amount of bone you have compared with a young adult of the same gender with peak bone mass. A score above -1 is considered normal. A score between -1 and -2.5 is classified as osteopenia, the first stage of bone loss. A score below -2.5 is defined as osteoporosis. The T score is used to estimate your risk of developing a fracture.

2.      FRAX – World Health Organization (WHO) Fracture Risk AssessmentA new technology – which calculates your 10-year probability of fracture.  This tool, called FRAX, was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is incorporated into our DEXA scan results.  Results include your percentage of risk for both major osteoporotic and hip fracture in the next ten years.

DEXA scan and graph - patient A with normal bone density test (T score above -1)

 

DEXA scan and graph - patient B (female) with Osteopenia (T score of -2.4).

Why do I need a Bone Density Test?

DEXA scan (also known as DXA scan or bone density test) is the gold standard test to accurately measure your bone mineral density (BMD) and assess your risk of developing a major fracture due to osteoporosis. 

 

Osteoporosis is a chronic, debilitating disease whereby the density and quality of bone are reduced.  The bones become porous and fragile, the skeleton weakens and the risk of fractures greatly increases.  The loss of bone occurs “silently” and progressively, often without symptoms until the first fracture occurs, most commonly at the wrist, spine and hip. 

 

Is osteoporosis a common disease?

 

Around the world, approximately 1 in 3 women over 50 will have a fracture due to osteoporosis (more than breast cancer) as will 1 in 5 men over 50 (more than prostate cancer).  An estimated 44 million Americans are affected by osteoporosis (80% are women and 20% are men). 

 

More facts about osteoporosis:

    ●  Osteoporosis can affect any age, not only the elderly.

    ●  80% of those affected are women … most bone loss occurring 5-7 years after menopause.

    ●  20% of those affected are men.

Osteoporosis is a major health problem that affects an estimated 44 million Americans.

What are the risk factors for Osteoporosis? 

    ●  Advancing age – but can affect any age due to other conditions.

    ●  A diet low in calcium and vitamin D – needed to build healthy bones.

    ●  Lack of exercise – exercise is important in building and maintaining bone strength.

    ●  Alcohol and tobacco use.

    ●  Eating Disorders - such as anorexia.

    ●  Family history – such as a parent with history of a hip fracture.

    ●  Previous fracture and frequent falls.

    ●  Chronic steroid therapy.

    ●  Primary or secondary hypogonadism in men.

Additional risk factors unique to women include:

    ●  Early menopause - menopause occurring before the age of 40.

    ●  Surgical removal of ovaries.

    ●  Breast cancer with chemotherapy (causing early menopause).

    ●  Young women extreme athletes – leading to loss of menses.

    ●  Small body frame or being underweight - more common in women.

Helpful links:

 

International Osteoporosis Foundation

National Osteoporosis Foundation