Dexa Scan reached out to me about their Body Composition Scan. They covered the cost of the scan in exchange for a review on the blog. I jumped at the chance to get this done since this year is all about me charging full-force ahead with regards to my health.
I am breaking this up into two parts because I feel like this scan is important to understanding our health on a different level and I want to dive into the details. This post is all about what the Dexa Scan is and the next post will be about reading the results from a functional perspective.
Let’s start off by getting to the nitty gritty about what exactly is a Dexa Scan.
DEXA stands for Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. There’s two different low dose x-rays that scan the body. This scan provides insight on bone density, lean muscle mass, and fat tissue. You can choose between two scans: Bone Density or Full Body Composition
This scan only measures bone density in the body. Bone Density is a measurement of minerals and calcium in the bones to determine risk factor for things like osteoporosis and how susceptible the bones are to fracture. Anyone can have this scan done and everyone can benefit from this knowledge. Women are at a bit of a higher risk for osteoporosis so it is extremely helpful for them to keep tabs on their bone density as they age. You get two scores with this scan:
- T score: Your Bone Mineral Density compared to young adults of the same gende
- Z score: Your Bone Mineral Density compared to other people in your age group of the same size and gender.
The whole body composition scan includes bone density, lean muscle mass, and fat tissue. This scan provides the most information because it includes so many health markers, such as:
- Total body bone mineral density
- Total body muscle mass
- Total body fat mass
- Total body bone mass
- Total body fat percentage
- Muscle and fat mass in the trunk
- Muscle and fat mass in your right and left arm
- Muscle and fat mass in your right and left leg
- Central abdominal fat measurement
It is an open air machine, so you don’t have to worry about feeling confined or claustrophobic. You lay down on a table and the scanner is above you. It scans the length of your whole body, creating images. Surprisingly, the process takes only about 5 minutes.
Results are available after a wait of only a few minutes. The technician may or may not discuss the findings of the scan with you. I highly encourage you to tell the technician that you would like a hardcopy of your results given to you personally. Having a hard copy of your medical records is always a good idea because you can refer back to it when necessary. In addition, you can take your results to the practitioner who is helping you with your health so you can review them and formulate a plan.
Scheduling a scan likely requires a doctor’s referral. This goes for either of the two scans. It seems silly to need a referral to get a body composition scan because this should be something everyone has access to, but doctor’s referrals for everything are the reality right now.
Consequently, my referral was through my chiropractor since I’m still in the process of finding a primary care doctor here in Idaho. Speak with your practitioner about getting a scan done. See if there’s one in your area by checking here.
I opted for the Body Composition Scan because I wanted the full package to get as much information as I could. Information is key when we are working towards optimizing our health. The next post in this series will go over reading and interpreting the Dexa Scan results.
Disclaimer: Dexa Scan contacted me to have a scan covered in exchange for a post. All opinions are mine and I received no other compensation.
Andie lives in Idaho with her husband and dog (a sweet pittie girl). She’s training to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner with a focus on womens’ health and autoimmune conditions. By focusing on whole foods and being active, her goal is to heal her body and to create a healthy work/home/life balance.