The DXA (duel-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan provides one of the most highly accurate measurements of body composition available, registering fat and lean mass distribution throughout the entire body.
One of the useful elements of the DXA scan is that it also indicates regional body fat distribution—i.e., fat tissue percentage in left arm versus right arm, trunk, left versus right leg, and most importantly, android versus gynoid fat. Regional fat distribution tells you where fat is located, which is just as important as how much total fat you have, if not more so. Carrying too much fat in the wrong area can make you more disposed to serious health problems. For example, seeing the ratio of android/gynoid fat distribution (fat carried on the waist or apple shape versus fat carried on the hips or pear shape) will give you a good indication of proneness to illnesses. It’s well known that excess fat around the abdomen and trunk and inside the abdominal cavity potentially puts you at greater risk for metabolic disorders, heart disease, and/or stroke.
A DXA Scan measures your Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and Body Mass Index (BMI). It is painless, and requires no injections, invasive procedures, sedation, special diet or any other advance preparation.
During a DXA exam, the patient lies fully clothed on a padded table while the system scans one or more areas of bone (usually the lower spine or hip). The entire exam typically takes about 15 minutes to complete. Each patient’s bone density is plotted against the “normal” for a healthy young adult or against age matched control data.
The Body Mass Index is the single most common method of measurement used to determine whether a person is overweight. Medical professionals will tell you that a healthy individual should fall between the BMI values of 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2. According to Health Canada, your BMI is classified as follows:
15 to 18.49—– UnderweightDSC_8025
18.5 to 25 ——Ideal
25.01 to 30—–Overweight
30.01 to 40—–Obese
Bone Density Test for Osteoporosis
total-body-bone-densityA bone density test determines if you have osteoporosis — a disease that causes bones to become more fragile and more likely to break.
In the past, osteoporosis could be detected only after you broke a bone. By that time, however, your bones could be quite weak. A bone density test makes it possible to know your risk of breaking bones before the fact.
A bone density test uses X-rays to measure how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone. The bones that are most commonly tested are located in the spine, hip and forearm.
DXA Scanning is used to identify decreases in bone density before you break a bone, determine your risk of broken bones (fractures), confirm a diagnosis of osteoporosis if you’ve experienced broken bones and monitor osteoporosis treatment.
The higher your bone mineral content, the denser your bones are. And the denser your bones, the stronger they generally are and the less likely they are to break. Bone density tests are not the same as bone scans. Bone scans require an injection beforehand and are usually used to detect fractures, cancer, infections and other abnormalities in the bone.