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Bone Densitometry

bonedensityxrayBone density scanning, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone loss. Bone density scanning is today’s established standard for measuring bone mineral density. Bone density scanning is most often performed on the lower spine and hips. In some adults, the whole body is sometimes scanned. Bone density scanning is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, as well as structural changes, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break. Bone density scanning is also effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss. Bone density scanning can also access an individual’s risk for developing fractures. The risk of fracture is affected by age, body weight, history of prior fracture, family history of osteoporotic fractures and life style issues such as cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These factors are taken into consideration when deciding if a patient needs therapy.