You may have heard of DEXA scans and wondered where it fits into your overall health and wellness plan. Good news: most women don’t need to worry about a DEXA scan until they are in their 60s.
DEXA scan: what is It?
A DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan is a short and straightforward radiology test used to determine your bone density. The scan is non-invasive – no needles or injections – and typically lasts about 45 minutes.
DEXA scans use radiation to check the strength of your bones. At The Christ Hospital, the bone densitometry technologist uses the specialized X-ray equipment to measure the density specifically in your spine and hips.
DEXA scan: when should I get one?
Our experts arecommend a DEXA scan for women around the age of 65 – earlier if they’ve had significant bone breaks or other bone issues.
“For the first 10 years after menopause, women often experience a significant loss of bone strength,” says Sandra Eisele, MD, orthopedic surgeon and Bone Health Program provider at The Christ Hospital. “A DEXA scan can tell us how strong or weak your bones have become.”
Estrogen production drops once menopause begins. Estrogen is a hormone that helps to protect your bones, so the decrease in estrogen production can mean more fragile bones for many females. Since more than eight million women in the United States have osteoporosis, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your osteoporosis risk during your yearly checkup. If your bone density falls into below average or osteoporosis levels, you and your physician will come up with a treatment plan that best fits your health needs.