Resources

Q

What is a DEXA exam?

A

Full-body DEXA exams are offered at our hospital imaging centers. Bone densitometry, using DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), safely, accurately and painlessly measures bone density and the mineral content of bone. DEXA is the most widespread, non-invasive test for the detection of osteoporosis, and is the best way to identify individuals who are at increased risk for future fractures. Based on your test results, your physician can suggest treatment options from exercise and lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements or medication. The goal of diagnosis and treatment is to prevent fractures.

Q

Am I at risk?

A

Your chances of developing osteoporosis are greater if you are female and answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  • Are you…?
    • Light skinned
    • Thin or small framed
    • Approaching or past menopause
    • Milk intolerant or have a low calcium intake
    • A cigarette smoker or drink alcohol in excess
    • Taking thyroid medication or steroid-based drugs for asthma, arthritis or cancer; this includes individuals suffering from hyper-thyroidism and hyper-parathyroidism
  • Do you have…?
    • A family history of osteoporosis
    • Early, natural or surgical menopause (i.e. hysterectomy)
    • Long term steroid use (for conditions such as asthma and arthritis)
    • Chronic intestinal disorders (i.e. malabsorption syndrome, post-gastrectomy)
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • A sedentary lifestyle
Q

How do I prepare for a DEXA exam?

A

Unless otherwise instructed, eat normally the day of your exam, but avoid taking calcium supplements for at least 24 hours prior to your appointment. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Sweat suits and other casual attire without zippers, buttons or metal objects are preferred.

You should not have had a barium study, radioisotope injection, oral or intravenous contrast material from a CT scan or MRI within seven days prior to your DEXA test.