What is a Bone Density Scan?
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA, is considered the most advanced and reliable method to measure bone density. ImageCare Centers provides bone density scans in New Jersey for patients who need their bone mineral density measured to determine their bone strength and risk of breaks or fractures. Our DEXA scans in northern New Jersey are easy to perform, painless, and expose the patient to a low dose of radiation.
A DEXA scan is performed by producing two X-ray beams with different energy levels, one high and one low. The amount of X-rays that pass through the bone is measured for each beam, and the result will vary based on the thickness of the bone. The difference between the measurement of the two beams will be used to determine the density of the bone.
Do I need a DEXA Bone Density Scan?
DEXA scans may be used to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis or to assess a patient’s risk for developing fractures, especially in places that are prone to them, such as the hips and spine. A doctor may request a bone density scan for patients who have significant risk factors for osteoporosis and/or fractures. Risk factors include:
- A family history of osteoporosis
- A small, thin frame
- Caucasian or Asian ancestry
- Low estrogen from prolonged menopause or the removal of both ovaries
- Being postmenopausal, having prolonged menopause, or not having a period in over a year
- Males who have low testosterone
- Use of steroids or medications for convulsions
- Being a heavy smoker
- Heavy use of alcohol or caffeine
- Low physical activity
- Insufficient calcium or vitamin D
- Recurrent falls
DEXA Scans are Crucial for Early Detection
It is important to begin screening for osteoporosis as early as possible so that treatment can be provided to slow, maintain, or even improve bone density loss. Reducing the risk of bone fractures is critical for long-term health. Breaking a bone can lead to other complications such as chronic pain, limited mobility, or a loss of independence. It is even estimated that up 20% more women who suffer a hip fracture die within one year of the fracture than women of a similar age who did not suffer a fracture.
Health experts recommend that women begin screening for osteoporosis at age 65, but they may need to begin at a younger age if they have risk factors. Men should begin screening for osteoporosis at age 70, or younger if they have additional risk factors. A doctor can provide a health assessment to determine the appropriate age to begin screening for fracture risks using a DEXA scan.
If a doctor has recommended a bone density scan for you, the professional and caring staff at ImageCare Centers can provide you with one. Contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient New Jersey locations.