DEXA Scan (Dual X-ray Absorptiometry) to Measure Bone Health
How is bone mineral density measured?
Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the preferred technique for measuring bone mineral density (BMD). DXA has also been called dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA. DXA is relatively easy to perform and the amount of radiation exposure is low. A DXA scanner is a machine that produces two X-ray beams, each with different energy levels. One beam is high energy while the other is low energy. The amount of X-rays that pass through the bone is measured for each beam. This will vary depending on the thickness of the bone. Based on the difference between the two beams, the bone density can be measured.
At present, DXA scanning focuses on two main areas -- the hip and spine. In certain situations -- if the hip or spine can't be measured, for instance -- it is measured in the forearm. Although osteoporosis involves the whole body, measurements of BMD at one site can be predictive of fractures at other sites. Scanning generally takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete and is painless and noninvasive.
What are the best ways to exercise and improve your bone health when you
have osteoporosis? Try weight-bearing workouts that stress bones and muscles
more than your everyday life, says Paul Mystkowski, MD, an endocrinologist at
Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and clinical faculty member of the
University of Washington in Seattle. Talk to your doctor and make sure the
workout you choose is safe for you. Then give these latest trends a try!
1. Tai Chi
Tai chi -- a form of slow,...