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Bone Density Testing with DXA (or DEXA)

The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates 55% of people age 50 and older in the United States have osteoporosis or low bone mass. Of these, more than 14 million men and 30 million women are affected by this condition.

Osteoporosis is a thinning of the bones which causes the bones to become fragile and more likely to break. If diagnosed early, there are treatments available to slow down bone loss and to treat osteoporosis.


Learn more about DXA:

A DXA test measures your bone mineral density at your hip and spine which shows your doctor if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis. DXA uses x-ray technology that exposes you to less radiation than a standard chest x-ray (about the same amount of radiation exposure as taking a trans-continental flight). This test takes about 10 minutes and is painless. You simply lie on a special table and the machine measures your bone density. You remain fully clothed during the exam.

Risk factors for osteoporosis:

  • Female
  • Age 65 or older
  • Someone else in your family has osteoporosis
  • Estrogen deficiency (which can be caused by menopause)
  • Little or no exercise
  • Past or current tobacco and/or excessive alcohol use
  • Use of certain medications such as corticosteroids (e.g., Prednisone)
  • Low body weight or a small frame
  • History of broken bones

A bone density test should be considered:

  • If you’re postmenopausal and at risk of osteoporosis
  • To assess your response to osteoporosis medications
  • If you have a condition called “primary hyperparathyroidism”
  • If you have certain spinal abnormalities that might indicate a fracture
  • If you’re on long-term corticosteriod therapy, such as Prednisone

Check with your doctor to find out if you need a DXA test. Your doctor will write you an order for your test and you can call a center near you that offers bone density to schedule your test. 


For more information visit the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF).