DEXA (or DXA) Scan

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Osteoporosis is a condition found in women after menopause and in some men. It involves a gradual loss of calcium from the bones, causing them to become thinner, and more likely to break.

DEXA bone density screening can help identify patients at risk for developing osteoporosis, so therapy can be started to prevent further bone loss and limit risk of devastating injury.

The bone density scan is painless, uses low doses of radiation, and lasts between 10-30 minutes depending on the area being scanned. The most commonly scanned areas are the lower back, hip and forearm. Your bone density is compared to a normal bone density. This is called the T-score. The T-score will inform the doctor if your bone mass is in normal range or if there are any changes to suggest osteoporosis.

Quick Facts About Osteoporosis

  • 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 5 men over 50 will experience fractures resulting from osteoporosis

  • 85% of wrist fractures occur in women

  • The combined lifetime risk for hip, forearm and vertebral fractures coming to clinical attention is around 40%, equivalent to the risk for cardiovascular disease

  • In white women, the lifetime risk of hip fracture is 1 in 6, compared with a 1 in 9 risk of a diagnosis of breast cancer

  • In women over 45 osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, heart attack and breast cancer.

  • Hip fractures can kill you. Hip fractures have a reported morbidity rate up to 24% in the first year after a hip fracture and a greater risk of dying may persist for at least 5 years afterwards

  • 40% of hip fracture survivors are unable to walk independently and 60% will still require assistance one year later. Because of these losses, one third of those who suffer a hip fracture are totally dependent or in a nursing home in the year following a hip fracture.
Resources

How to Schedule a Dexa Scan

Your doctor needs to order a this test for you. If you don't have a primary care physician, we can help you find one near your home or where you work.