Significance of DEXA Scan
Bone density scanning, also referred to as dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA scan is an improved form of X-ray technology which is utilized for measurement of bone loss. DEXA is an established standard for measurement of bone density.
DEXA scan is mostly performed on hips and lower spine. However, at times the entire body is scanned in some adults as well as children. Peripheral devices which utilize ultrasound or X-ray are used for screening of low bone mass.
Mostly, DEXA is utilized for diagnosis of osteoporosis, a condition that affects women after reaching menopause. However, men are also affected by the condition. Osteoporosis is characterized by a steady loss of calcium and structural changes. This causes the bones to become fragile and thin which also increases their brittleness. Moreover, DEXA is effective for tracking the effect of treatment for osteoporosis as well as other conditions which cause loss of bones.
The DEXA test is also capable of assessing the risk of developing fractures in individuals. The risk of fracture is influenced by several factors such as body weight, age, history of any fracture that occurred before and family history of fractures caused due to osteoporosis. Apart from these, other factors such as lifestyle issues also affect the risk of fractures. These include excessive consumption of alcohol and cigarette smoking. All such factors need to be considered for deciding whether the patient needs therapy or not.
DEXA scan is regarded as a precise estimator of fracture risk. Moreover, the widespread availability of DEXA equipment facilitates in making DEXA bone densitometry testing equally convenient for both physicians and patients.