DEXA or bone density scans are today’s standard for measuring bone mineral density loss and potential risk for osteoporotic fractures.
A DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan, also known as bone densitometry or a bone density scan, is a quick, simple and painless exam that uses enhanced x-ray technology (and minimal radiation) to obtain focused images of the hip and lower spine to calculate your bone mineral density (BMD). The hip and lower spine is where osteoporotic fractures occur most frequently. The x-ray beam itself is made up of two distinct energy levels that are absorbed differently by the bones. The images are sent directly to a computer that analyzes the differences and calculates the amount of bone mineral present. Sophisticated computer software takes this information and compares it to the national measurement standards and a profile is generated detailing your level of bone loss and potential risk for fractures.
Bone mineral density is our best defense in the early diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, which weakens the bones, leaving many patients at risk for fractures with a simple fall or bump. Postmenopausal women are at highest risk but men also lose bone strength as they age. Following years of research, new pharmaceuticals have been developed which can prevent as well as enhance the treatment of osteoporosis. Therefore, diagnosing bone loss early can have a significant impact on your quality of life if you have osteoporosis.
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