DXA Scan — Dual-energy X-Ray Absorptionmetry (DXA) is considered the most highly developed and most thoroughly validated technique for assessing bone mineral density, according to the World Health Organization.
WHAT IS A DXA SCAN?
Dual-energy X-ray is a process where 2 x-ray beams are produced by the DXA scanner. These beams are low in energy and have different intensities or speed. The unit is able to determine the density of the bone being analyzed, by recording the difference in time that the beams take passing through the bone. Normally the hip and lumbar spine are used for analysis, and in certain situations the forearm is included.
WHO SHOULD HAVE A DXA SCAN?
Those who should consider DXA include:
1. Women over 65
2. Post-menopausal women under 65 who have risk factors for osteoporosis.
a. History of bone fractures.
b. Current smoker.
c. History of taking oral steroids for more than three months.
d. Body weight under 127lbs.
e. Women who have an immediate family member with a history of fragility fracture (a broken bone from a minor injury.)
3. Men are recommended to have DXA when over the age of 70
There are certain medical conditions that increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. They include:kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, vitamin D deficiency, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, and intestinal diseases. Patients should discuss DXA Scanning with his or her PCP to determine if a scan is indicated for health maintenance.