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Bone densitometry scanning measures the density of bones and checks for signs of osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak and prone to fracture.
Bone densitometry scanning measures the density of bones and is used to check for signs of osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become weak and prone to fracture.
The most accurate and reliable way to measure your bone density and find out if you have osteoporosis, or if you may develop it in the future, is to have a DEXA scan, which scans your bones. DEXA stands for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.
Scanning for osteoporosis is the only way to find out if you have osteoporosis or if you are likely to develop it. Steps can then be taken to help prevent its development. Osteoporosis usually has no symptoms – the first sign is often a break or fracture. You should be scanned if you are at risk of osteoporosis.
You have a greater risk of developing osteoporosis if you:
The DEXA machine is used to scan the bones in your lower back and hip, and sometimes your forearm. These are the bones most prone to fracture if you have osteoporosis. The scan will measure the density of bone and tissue separately.
You will be asked to lie flat on a couch and stay still while the different parts of your body are scanned. The procedure is painless and takes around 20 minutes.
The information from the scanner is sent to a computer to be processed and you will be given a T-Score, which compares your bone density to that of healthy bones.
Results of the scan
The following can help build healthy bones:
For more information, and if you have any queries about the procedure, speak to your consultant. Continue your normal medication unless you are told otherwise. Always check your doctor first before taking up any vigorous exercise.
Further scans can be taken a year or two later to see if the density of your bones is improving or getting worse. If the scan shows you have osteoporosis, you can still make the above lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of fracture. Drug treatment is also available to help manage the condition. For details of side effects, speak to your doctor.