What does a DEXA scan tell you?

Asked By: Grau Baruque | Last Updated: 1st March, 2020
Category: medical health bone and joint conditions
4.3/5 (52 Views . 23 Votes)
A DEXA scan usually assesses or measures bone density. It may also have uses in determining body composition, such as the percentage of lean muscle and fat. The dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan uses two low-energy X-ray beams, which doctors direct toward the bones.

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Keeping this in view, what can show up on a bone density test?

Bone density tests differ from bone scans. Bone scans require an injection beforehand and are usually used to detect fractures, cancer, infections and other abnormalities in the bone. Although osteoporosis is more common in older women, men also can develop the condition.

Also, how do you interpret DEXA scan results? Understanding Bone Density Test Results

  1. A T-score of -1.0 or above is normal bone density. Examples are 0.9, 0 and -0.9.
  2. A T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 means you have low bone density or osteopenia.
  3. A T-score of -2.5 or below is a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
  4. The lower a person's T-score, the lower the bone density.

Herein, can a DEXA scan show cancer?

DEXA scan. A DEXA scan measures bone mineral density. Short for dual-energy X-ray absorption, the DEXA scan helps the doctor evaluate bone health and determine the likelihood of osteoporosis or bone fractures. This scan also may help detect whether cancer has metastasized, or spread, to the bones.

What is a DEXA scan used for?

A dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan, also called a bone density scan, is a common technique used to measure bone density. This completely painless procedure is easily performed and exposes the patient to minimal radiation.

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Can you rebuild bone density?

But they're especially important for women with low bone density. While you can never regain the bone density you had in your youth, you can help prevent rapidly thinning bones, even after your diagnosis. Here's a breakdown of five lifestyle steps to help you on the road to better bone health.

Can I take vitamin D before a bone density test?

Eat, drink, and take any medications as you normally would. However, do not take calcium supplements or drugs that contain calcium, such as Tums, for 24 hours before your bone densitometry test.

What is a bad t score?

A T-score between −1 and −2.5 indicates that you have low bone mass, although not low enough to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. A T-score of −2.5 or lower indicates that you have osteoporosis. The greater the negative number, the more severe the osteoporosis.

Does bone density affect weight?

Confusion exists concerning the effects that weight loss has on bone health. RECENT FINDINGS: Bone density is more closely associated with lean mass than total body mass and fat mass. Maintenance of calcium and vitamin D intake seems to positively affect BMD during weight loss.

What is the first sign of osteoporosis?


There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you might have signs and symptoms that include: Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra. Loss of height over time.

What should my bone mass be for my age?

Your bone density is then compared to the average BMD of an adult of your sex and race at the age of peak bone mass (approximately age 25 to 30). The result is your T score. A T score of -1 to +1 is considered normal bone density. A T score of -1 to -2.5 indicates osteopenia (low bone density).

Does a bone density test show arthritis?

Bone density test.
The BMD test can help determine whether medication should be considered. People with rheumatoid arthritis, particularly those who have been receiving glucocorticoid therapy, should talk to their doctor about whether a BMD test is appropriate.

How long does it take to get DEXA scan results?

Although the timing varies according to the hospital, facility, and radiologist who will be assessing your DEXA scan, you probably will hear back from your doctor with the results within a week or two. The results of a bone density measurement (DEXA scan) are reported in two ways: as T-scores and as Z-scores.

What do my DEXA scan results mean?

The results of a DEXA scan for bone density use a system called a T-score. A T-score of -1.0 or higher is normal bone density. A T-score of -1.1 to -2.4 indicates osteopenia, or low bone density. A T-score of -2.5 or lower means a diagnosis of osteoporosis.

Do you have to undress for a bone density test?


In most cases, you do not need to undress. This scan is the best test to predict your risk for fractures, especially of the hip. Peripheral DEXA (p-DEXA) -- These smaller machines measure the bone density in your wrist, fingers, leg, or heel.

How accurate is the DEXA scan for body fat?

A DEXA scan has a very low error rate of 1-2%, compared to 5-15% for most methods. This is due to the advanced X-ray technology that leave little guesswork and no extra calculations to provide accurate data.

Why can't you take vitamins before bone density test?

Why can't I take calcium supplements or multiple vitamins on the day of my DEXA scan prior to my test? If the calcium supplement is not completely dissolved, it will be interpreted by the DEXA instrument as extra bone and may produce an inaccurate reading.

How much does a DEXA body scan cost?

Satisfactory. The story notes that a whole-body DXA scan costs “$45 to $350 or more” and is generally not covered by insurance.

Can I drink milk before a DEXA scan?

How should I prepare for the DXA scan? Do NOT eat foods high in calcium for 3-4 hours before your DXA scan. These foods include: milk, cheese, yogurt, and dark green leafy vegetables. Do NOT take calcium supplements, vitamins, or TUMS® on the day of your scan.

Can you reverse osteoporosis?


A decrease in bone density is a natural part of aging, but healthy living can slow down and even reverse bone loss. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis.

What should you not do before a DEXA scan?

A person does not need to prepare before they have a DEXA scan. They can eat and drink normally on the day of the procedure. However, people who are taking calcium supplements will usually need to stop taking them around 24 hours before the scan.

What are the side effects of a bone density test?

Common side effects include upset stomach, difficulty swallowing, and heartburn. Rare side effects include bone, joint and muscle pain, cracks in the thighbones, bone loss in the jaw, and heart rhythm problems.