Whether you heard the term on a medical television show or in your own doctor’s office, DEXA scans are a fairly common procedure in the world of medical imaging. While the term may be something that you are familiar with, you may not know anything about what this procedure actually entails. At Vision Imaging of Kingston, we perform DEXA scans all the time, and therefore, we know a lot about them. Below you can discover what exactly a DEXA scan is and why people need to have them from time to time.

What does “dexa” stand for?

The first question we get from our patients when it comes to these types of scans is, “What does ‘DEXA’ stand for?” If this is something you have wondered in the past, let us inform you. Dexa stands for ‘Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry’.

What are DEXA scans used for?

DEXA scans are used to test the density of one’s bones. This sort of scan is great for diagnosing Osteopenia or Osteoporosis. For the most part, this test will first be used to determine if a patient is suffering from either of these bone conditions. After that, additional scans may be used to determine what the treatment plan should be moving forward. For the most part, women do not have to have one of these scans until they are 65 or older, unless they have any risk of having osteoporosis, but we will talk about that next.

Who should have DEXA scans?

As we mentioned before, women over 65 should have one of these scans in order to ensure they are not suffering from Osteoporosis or Osteopenia. However, that doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t have one of these tests completed, as they are at risk of these diseases as well. For men, the symptoms of weakening bones can begin at any age so it’s important to note any weakness or recurring injuries that may indicate a DEXA scan should be completed.

Are there people who shouldn’t have DEXA scans?

For the most part, anyone can have this scan, with the exception of women who are or may be pregnant. On the other hand, it is important to talk to your doctor thoroughly before having one of these scans as other tests you’ve had recently may mean you have to wait to have a DEXA completed.

How should you prepare for this scan?

Because this test is not invasive, it does not require that you prepare for it much at all. There are just a couple of thing you should know if you are having a DEXA scan anytime soon.

  • Should you be taking calcium supplements, you should STOP taking them up at least 48 hours before your scan.

  • If you are taking medication for Osteoporosis or Osteopenia already, you should not take them the day of the test.

  • You can, however, eat and drink normally the day of your scan.

Want to have a DEXA Scan?

If you think you may be suffering from Osteoporosis or Osteopenia and you would like to have a DEXA scan to find out, contact Vision Imaging of Kingston today. We can make you an appointment in no time and assist you in any potential diagnosis or treatment.