Do you have concerns about your bone health? Do you worry that you may be at risk of osteoporosis? Perhaps you have already suffered a fracture because of bone thinning.
What is a DEXA Scan?
A DEXA scan is the first step to stopping osteoporosis in its tracks. A DEXA scan is recommended as a first line of defence against osteoporosis. DEXA – also referred to as DXA – is short for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. DEXA scans are safe, accurate, painless and non-invasive. The DEXA scanner uses a far lower radiation level than CT scan or MRIs. The DEXA scan measurement compares and calculates your bone density to other people who are the same age and sex, giving a good indication as to whether you’re at risk of conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia- when the bone thins - often a precursor to osteoporosis.
The best DEXA?
Various DEXA (DXA) machines and specifications are used at different clinics.
- Some DEXAs have more advanced diagnostic features
- It is worth checking that the DEXA consultant is qualified to produce a comprehensive prognostic report allowing a more detailed and comprehensive analysis of your health.
- Some DEXA scanners are equipped with the ‘Advanced Body Composition’ software to provide a reading of the total fat in the trunk area of your body.
- The DEXA ‘Core Scan’ option is also available, which pinpoints whether this fat is visceral fat - the kind that wraps itself around the internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines - risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and cancer rise.
- With these readings, you can discuss how to reduce your risk with lifestyle changes or medications.
How much does a DEXA scan cost?
Do talk to you insurer in case you are covered for your DEXA scan. However, you can self-refer. A DEXA (DXA) scan can cost around £250. This should include a report by a bone health specialist that spans the next ten years.
Your DEXA results can be interpreted by by bone health specialists such as Professor David Reid, an internationally acknowledged authority on DEXA, and Emeritus Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Aberdeen. Professor Reid is passionate about bone health and screening for those who are at risk of osteoporosis. He says, "Once someone knows they are at risk of osteoporosis, getting the right treatment can produce a reduction in risk of up to 70%, by using lifestyle changes as well as supplements and prescribed medication."
A DEXA scan is considered safe and risk-free, you can also self-refer.
A condition in which the protein and mineral content of bone tissue is reduced, but less severely than in osteoporosis.Full medical glossary