detect osteoporosis

What is the best way to detect Osteoporosis early on?

How do you detect Osteoporosis early on?

 

Osteoporosis is a growing healthcare crisis affecting millions of women and men worldwide. The healthcare costs associated with osteoporosis are staggering, and the effect on your patient’s quality of life can be devastating. Only about 10% of women over the age of 65 have normal bone mass. 77 percent of American women with osteoporosis are undiagnosed (and therefore untreated).1 Fortunately, osteoporosis is detectable and treatable and testing is safe and non-invasive. So how do you detect Osteoporosis early on?

 

The imaging technology of the DEXA Plus Horizon System provides superb image quality with advanced diagnostic tools to support early detection and treatment of osteoporosis. DEXA Plus Horizon Scanners enables new dimensions in care, including greater insights into biomechanical strength, visualization of calcification in the abdominal aorta that can indicate heart disease, lumbar spine and proximal femur studies, BMD measurements of the entire skeleton, atypical femur fracture (AFF) assessment, and many other clinical applications.

 

 

Next Steps

If you’re looking to make a real difference in the lives of your patients, start measuring their bone health and body composition. A DEXA scanner is also perfect for additional revenue streams for your practice, contact us today. We look forward to putting our 20+ years of experience to work helping you!

 

DEXA Consultation

 

Follow the DEXA Plus program - scan for bone health and body composition

 

 

1 Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis: WHO Technical Report Series 921. Report of a WHO Scientific Group. World Health Organization, Geneva.

 

 

bone health and body composition

Latest in Bone Health and Body Composition Assessments

 

DEXA Plus scanners are ideal for gauging a person’s bone health and body composition. That includes bone density, muscle mass, and visceral fat. Visceral fat is especially important, since its presence and amount may serve as early indicators of metabolic syndrome — the broader category under which diabetes resides.

 

What is the best way to detect Osteoporosis early on?

Osteoporosis is a growing healthcare crisis affecting millions of women and men worldwide. 77% of American women with osteoporosis are undiagnosed (and therefore untreated).2 Fortunately, osteoporosis is detectable and treatable and testing is safe and non-invasive.  The DEXA Plus Horizon Scanner enables new dimensions in care, including greater insights into biomechanical strength, visualization of calcification in the abdominal aorta that can indicate heart disease, lumbar spine and proximal femur studies, BMD measurements of the entire skeleton, atypical femur fracture (AFF) assessment, and many other clinical applications.

 

What is the most accurate way to measure body composition?

The Advanced Body Composition assessment provides detailed information about body fat, lean mass, bone mass, and visceral fat – the metabolically active fat often associated with diabetes and other metabolic syndromes.  It also includes a Fat Mass Index (FMI) which is an obesity classification that measures the ratio of fat mass to height squared.3  FMI may be better than BMI because while BMI is a measure of excess weight, FMI is a measure of excess fat.  BMI may misclassify muscular subjects as overweight or individuals with low body weight as normal even if they have high levels of fat.

The imaging technology of the DEXA Plus Horizon DXA system provides superb image quality1 with advanced diagnostic tools to support early detection and treatment of osteoporosis and provide a full-body, Advanced Body Composition® assessment.

 

How Dr. Davis uses DEXA in his practice

Dr. Davis explains how he uses DXA technology to measure bone health and body composition. He is able to detect early metabolic syndrome even when his patient’s hemoglobin A1C levels are normal. He also discusses how DEXA assesses:

  • Visceral Fat
  • High insulin levels
  • Body Composition
  • Bone Density

 

 

Next Steps

If you’re looking to make a real difference in the lives of your patients, start measuring their bone health and body composition. A DEXA scanner is also perfect for additional revenue streams for your practice, contact us today. We look forward to putting our 20+ years of experience to work helping you!

 

DEXA Consultation

 

Follow the DEXA Plus program - scan for bone health and body composition

 

1 Jankowski, L et al. Quantifying Image Quality of DXA Scanners Performing Vertebral Fracture Assessment Using Radiographic Phantoms. 2006.

2Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis: WHO Technical Report Series 921. Report of a WHO Scientific Group. World Health Organization, Geneva.

3 Kelly TL, Wilson KE, Heymsfield SB (2009) Dual energy X-Ray absorptiometry body composition reference values from NHANES. PLoS One 4: e7038.

 

Hologic, Advanced Body Composition, Horizon and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Hologic, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks, registered trademarks, and product names are the property of their respective owners. This information is intended for professionals in the U.S. and other markets and is not intended as a product solicitation or promotion where such activities are prohibited. Rx Only – use of the Hologic DXA System is restricted by or on the order of a physician.

A VO2 test

The Health Markers You MUST Know

Stopwatches, mirrors, tape measures: in ages past, creating as complete a picture of your health and fitness as possible meant compiling scraps of information from decidedly lacking means.  Today, however, you have access to Health Markers data points capable of:

  • Determining your body composition, from bone density to visceral fat and more.
  • Identifying your resting metabolic rate, a crucial step in establishing a baseline calorie “budget.”
  • Establishing your maximum oxygen output, or VO2 max, to gauge exercise efficiency and the steps required to move you closer to optimal performance 

A Closer Look

Understanding the power of each of these three elements drives home precisely how critical it is to understand this information and how it affects both your day-to-day life and peak performance capabilities. So let’s take a closer look at each.

 

Critical Health Marker 1: Body Composition

WHAT IT IS: Talk of “body composition” means addressing a person’s bone density, muscle mass, and visceral fat. Each of the three can help identify current or potential issues with osteoporosis, sarcopenia, and metabolic syndrome, respectively. 

WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW IT: It isn’t hyperbole to say that knowing your body composition figures may save your life. 

  • Osteoporosis weakens bones, making fractures more likely. Since such fractures take an increasingly deadly toll as a person ages, making less dense (brittle) bones an urgent issue. 
  • Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass as a person gets older. It’s a substantial contributing factor to a decrease in strength and mobility. That can lead to falls, which is a dangerous situation for the elderly.
  • Metabolic syndrome is a category under which diabetes, cancer, and other ailments fall. A high level of visceral fat — which surrounds your internal organs — is the culprit here. 

 

Critical Health Marker 2: Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

WHAT IT IS: As the term suggests, your RMR reveals your metabolism’s efficiency during non-exertion — in other words, how many calories your body burns when not exercising. A high RMR means your body will burn more calories as your rest (which includes as you sleep). It also means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day and during your sessions at the gym. 

WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW IT: Knowing your RMR is vital to identify how many calories you can consume in a day. Do you need more? Less? 

RMR removes the mystery and guesswork formerly involved with setting daily caloric goals; you’ll know specifically what to aim for. 

And since your metabolism changes along with your weight, access to follow-up body composition and RMR scans after 90 days will help identify your new health baseline and how to adjust it after achieving your weight loss or gain goals — a continuous health-boosting loop.

 

Critical Health Marker 3: VO2 Max

WHAT IT IS: The maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during an intense workout is also known as your VO2 max. Knowing your VO2 max is essential to determining your aerobic endurance. 

This is key data for anyone either training for, or helping someone train for an athletic event with an endurance component, such as:

  • Marathons
  • Triathlons/Ironman triathlons
  • Cycling competitions or tours

WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW IT: Charting VO2 max is beneficial in preventing injury as an athlete trains. That’s because it marks a person’s level of fitness and allows for a degree of the specification that improves the level without taxing the athlete to the point of injury.

 

Putting the Plus in DEXA+

Gathering the essential health data provided by body composition, RMR, and VO2 max testing used to be overly complicated, notably expensive, or both. 

Although stopwatches and tape measures still have a place in training, achieving ideal health and performance has come a long way since their heyday.

Now, learning such crucial information requires nothing more than a visit to the medical practices and wellness centers that offer such tests. The tests are affordable and comfortable, with limited or no prep required. 

If you’re interested in optimal health and performance, body composition, RMR, and VO2 max is what you must know — now and into your future.

A1C Q&A

Answering Your A1C Questions

The “A” in A1C doesn’t stand for “answers,” but it may as well for the purpose of this article. That’s because this article provides answers for some of the most common A1C questions people like you are asking today.

The right answers are important because diabetes is a serious medical condition that can lead to:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Blindness
  • Kidney disease
  • Amputations

Please remember: Always consult your physician
for personalized medical information and guidance.

What is A1C?

Physicians administer the A1C test to determine your average blood sugar level over the previous three months.

What is a Good A1C Level?

Physicians prefer seeing an A1C level below 5.7%. Any result higher than that and you may be diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic.

How Can I Lower My A1C Level?

There’s no single way to lower your A1C level. A multi-pronged approach will work best:

  1. Communication
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Medicine

Why is Communication So Important to Lowering A1C?

Admittedly, it may seem odd to have “communication” as a top tactic. But don’t underestimate the power of clear, honest, and continuing conversations with your healthcare provider about the changes you can make — and stick with — to lower your A1C level.

How Can I Lower My A1C with Diet?

A low-carb or medium-carb diet is considered effective for lowering A1C levels. Refined foods are best avoided in favor of whole foods such as green, leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

Which Foods Lower A1C Levels?

WebMD recommends the following foods for lowering your A1C level:

  1. Raw, cooked, or roasted vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, eggplant, and zucchini
  2. Greens such as kale, spinach, and chard
  3. Low-calorie drinks such as tea or water infused with cucumbers or lemon
  4. Melon or berries
  5. Whole-grain, higher-fiber foods such as dried beans, peas, and lentils
  6. “Good” fat choices such as olive oil, avocado, and fatty fish (like salmon)
  7. Protein such as Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and lean meats

Can I Lower My A1C Overnight?

No. Rome wasn’t built in a day — and neither are the kinds of healthy, long-lasting changes you need to make to achieve a lower A1C score.

How Can I Lower My A1C Quickly?

If you communicate with your healthcare provider, make good food choices, exercise, and take whatever medicine is prescribed to you, you’ll achieve greater control over your A1C level than ever before.

Does Exercise Lower A1C?

Exercise is a leading tool in the battle against high A1C levels and many other health issues. That’s because exercise — even a physical activity such as gardening — lowers insulin resistance.

Don’t worry: this doesn’t mean you have to adopt the same training regimen as an Olympic athlete. Work with your healthcare provider to set realistic activity goals. They may incorporate walking, jogging, and biking.  

One More A1C Question Worth Asking …

DEXA machines are ideal for gauging a person’s body composition. That includes bone density, muscle mass, and visceral fat. Visceral fat is especially important, since its presence and amount may serve as early indicators of metabolic syndrome — the broader category under which diabetes resides.

To better understand how an easy, affordable DEXA scan can deliver vital health information to help you combat unfavorable A1C numbers, speak with your physical today. And if you find the idea of a DEXA scan compelling, click here to search for a welcoming DEXA Plus partner location near you.

A high A1C level can lead to health problems.

Working Around A1C test Shortcomings

Practically since its introduction in 1977, many medical professionals have considered the A1C test the gold standard for determining a patient’s average blood sugar (glucose) level.

Depending upon the result of the A1C test, the patient could be diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic.

A1C Challenges

In recent years, researchers and others have called into question the efficacy of A1C tests. Along the way, several issues have been cited.

Issue: The A1C test underestimates diabetes’ prevalence. That’s according to a study presented at the 2019 session of the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting. Researchers found that A1C cannot be relied upon as the sole determinant of diabetes. Their recommendation is to use it in conjunction with an oral glucose test for improved accuracy.

Issue: The A1C test doesn’t always identify pre-diabetes or diabetes. As the chart above indicates, an A1C level of 6.5% indicates diabetes. But a patient’s percentage may come in lower than that even though they do have diabetes “if you have evidence of the insulin resistance syndromes that include high triglycerides, low HDL — your typical metabolic syndrome,” according to Javier Morales, M.D., FACP, FACE. Morales is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine at Hofstra University and Vice President at Advanced Internal Medicine Group.

Issue: The A1C test works best as part of a diagnostic plan. After reviewing the available literature and discussing the issue, an international committee of medical experts reached a consensus that the A1C should be included among diagnostic tools for diabetes. In the ensuing years, however, the test has grown in prominence. The general public may view it less as one tool among others and more the only tool that matters.

Issue: Multiple conditions can skew A1C test results, resulting in either an increase or decrease in the numbers that the test returns. Such conditions include:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver disease
  • Anemia
  • Medicines such as opioids and some HIV medications
  • Blood loss
  • Blood transfusions

Taking these issues into account, the A1C can at least contribute to a physician’s understanding of a patient’s potential development of pre-diabetes or diabetes. Considering that diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation, that’s no small achievement.

READ MORE: How one practice noted A1C’s issues and turned its focus to DEXA.

DEXA’s Place in the Diabetes Landscape

Diabetes is among the several significant health issues that can result from metabolic syndrome. Other health issues related to metabolic syndrome include heart disease and stroke.

Establishing a patient’s metabolic syndrome susceptibility, then, would seem an effective way to stave off prediabetes or diabetes. But if a number of factors can render the A1C test unreliable, what options are available to a wellness professional?

One strong choice is DEXA.

DEXA’s ability to measure a person’s body composition — especially visceral fat — makes it a great tool to help stave off metabolic syndrome. That’s because visceral fat is a key element in the development of metabolic syndrome, and there is no better medical device available to gauge visceral fat than a DEXA machine.

Increasingly, medical professionals are circling visceral fat’s biologically active, potentially harmful qualities as public enemy number one when it comes to a person’s developing metabolic syndrome — which can include diabetes.

DEXA: Health’s Way Forward

A DEXA-based approach also addresses the issues with A1C:

  • Its industry-best precision means the amount of a patient’s visceral fat — and, therefore, a potential increase in the risk of developing diabetes — is not underestimated.
  • While the whole patient must be treated, which can require multiple testing tools, the DEXA’s ability to gauge not only visceral fat but muscle mass and bone density makes it an important cornerstone of any wellness plan.
  • Conducted properly, DEXA results cannot be skewed in the way that conditions such as anemia can skew A1C results.

Modern medicine contains no single “magic bullet” to diagnose and treat any patient. However, the more that is learned about the devastating effects that metabolic syndrome can have on a person, the more important it is to turn promptly to the best tools available for identifying it.

DEXA represents just such a tool. To learn more about what a DEXA machine can mean for your patients, your practice, and you, contact us today.

Sources

www.diabetes.org/research-and-practice/student-resources/history-of-diabetes.html
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632159/
www.pharmacytimes.com/peer-exchange/cardio-diabetes/acp-versus-ada-guidelines-on-hba1c
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190323113744.htm

Measuring visceral fat.

Visceral Fat and Its Role in Your Health

It’s possible that visceral fat will present the majority of us with the greatest health-related fight in which we’ll ever find ourselves. That’s because visceral fat can lead to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and malignancies.

Understanding your visceral fat level, which visceral fat measure approach is best, and what a visceral fat rating is could help you avoid such personal health catastrophes.

Visceral Fat Level

In contemporary gaming, “leveling up” means increasing the capabilities of your gaming character.

When visceral fat is the topic, however, leveling up can be deadly.

That’s because a high visceral fat level may be a precursor to serious health issues such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Breast and colorectal cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Why Your Visceral Fat Level Matters More than Your Subcutaneous Fat Level

Your visceral fat hides beneath your abdominal wall, where it surrounds organs such as the liver and intestines. You likely have more subcutaneous fat — the fat that accumulates beneath your skin but in front of your abdominal wall — but visceral fat is far more dangerous.

Here’s why:

For a long time, the medical community saw fat cells as passive. Now, though, it’s clear that such cells are “biologically active,” with fat performing as an endocrine gland. With subcutaneous cells, that performance includes a higher amount of beneficial molecules. When it comes to visceral fat, the script switches: that kind of fat produces more potentially harmful molecules.

It’s those harmful molecules that attack the nearby organs and, subsequently, wreak havoc on them and you. This is why paying attention to your visceral fat level is so important.

Visceral Fat Ratings

The amount of visceral fat you have can be expressed a few ways. One way is with something called a visceral fat rating based on a scale of 1-59. The goal is to keep the visceral fat rating under 13. Anything above that indicates an unhealthy visceral fat level.

What Visceral Fat Ratings Mean

A visceral fat rating below 13 means the subject is successfully avoiding the riskier amounts of visceral fat that can lead to the illnesses mentioned above. This is achieved through diet and exercise — but mostly diet.

Visceral Fat Rating Shortcomings

A visceral fat rating often is associated with BIA, which involves sending an electrical current through your body. It is not considered an especially reliable form of body composition measurement. While paying attention to your visceral fat amount is better than ignoring it, there are better ways that with an approach incorporating a visceral fat rating. Rather than seeking a visceral fat rating, visceral fat measure techniques that quantify your visceral fat with a percentage offer a more accurate figure.

We’ll take a closer look at visceral fat measure next.

Visceral Fat Measure

As more is learned about how dangerous high levels of visceral fat can be, the medical and scientific communities devote more effort into ways to quantify a person’s visceral fat amounts with accuracy.

There are various ways a professional can take a patient or client’s visceral fat measure. Here are the more popular methods in alphabetical order:

  • BIA
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • DEXA
  • Hydrostatic (Underwater) Testing
  • Skinfold Calipers

The Best Visceral Fat Measure Techniques

Of the five visceral fat measure techniques listed, DEXA receives the highest marks from medical professionals. Hydrostatic testing, which involves dunking the subject into water, is a distant second.

The others — BIA, BMI, and skinfold calipers — are not considered reliable enough measures for a serious measure of visceral fat. WebMD, for its part, grades them C+, D, and D, respectively. Of BIA, one medically confirmed study cited its “limited potential for accurately measuring visceral fat ….”

Fighting Visceral Fat

What was formerly a somewhat pricey and complicated process to identify your body composition — including your visceral fat — DEXA scans have come down in both measures to be accessible to everyone.

DEXA+ is proud to be at the forefront of that effort. Because there is no better way to determine your body’s composition and track progress to improve your health, we’re proud to be here to offer clients this service. To learn more, contact us today.

Sources

www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/body-fat-analyzers/faq-20057944
www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320929.php
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2082845/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3473928/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5500349/

The Global DEXA Market

The global market for bone densitometers is expected to reach $1.2 billion by 2024. Such a forecast puts it at a market growth of 4.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), growth driven mostly by the increase in osteoporosis diagnoses spurred by demographic changes worldwide.  The largest segment is the DEXA market, which we will dig into in this article.

Experts segment the bone densitometer market into three categories:

  • DEXA
  • Ultrasound
  • “Other”

Of those segments, DEXA is the largest. A key reason: its ability to diagnose osteoporosis and assess the risk for developing osteoporotic fractures.

Medical professionals and patients alike consider a DEXA scan a swift and noninvasive procedure, which has helped it become a standard method for diagnosing osteoporosis. It’s a vital capability to help treat an aging population.

To be sure, though, a DEXA machine can do more than identify bone density issues, as critical as that capability is. There’s another factor driving DEXA’s popularity and its market success around the world.

Chronic Diseases

An unmistakable driver of current and — future — DEXA machine purchases is their ability to identify high amounts of visceral fat in a person’s body. Visceral fat can contribute to many serious ailments, including:

  • Heart attacks and heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Elevated blood pressure

The DEXA’s ability to identify and quantify a subject’s visceral fat amounts can be used to combat obesity, helping to keep these chronic diseases at bay, along with osteoporosis. This ability alone can make a DEXA machine indispensable to a healthcare practice — which contributes to the global demand.

Market Developments

The bone densitometers market is rife with innovation, including advancements in 3D modeling and simulation that may aid clinical researchers in developing biomechanical criteria that helps diagnose hip fracture risk. Because hip fractures can reduce mobility and quality of life, and may increase mortality, being able to predict hip fractures is very important.

Such innovation leads potentially to positive developments in treatments. For example, recent research determined that men — particularly black men — tended to be notably undertreated for osteoporosis. Knowing this is crucial in identifying osteoporosis awareness gaps so more men can receive the treatment they need. And from a purely economic/market perspective, it highlights another positive indicator since that increased awareness is likely to result in an increased need for bone densitometers in the near future.

Here’s one possible way that increased awareness might come about:

According to the National Health Interview Survey, men exercise more than women. Convincing those same men of a DEXA scan’s efficacy in cataloging precise body composition info may result in more of them complimenting their exercise regimens with DEXA scans. And more body composition scans means more men see not only their percentages of visceral fat and muscle mass but their bone density data, too.

The highly specific data generated by a DEXA scan means even more to serious athletes. That’s because such data is ideal for determining the effectiveness of a particular training program. So whether it is men in general, or just the percentage of men more serious about their training, that turn to DEXA, there’s an increased chance in improving those bone density numbers as they relate to men.

Meeting Anticipated Growth

Driving market growth for DEXA machines in the coming years is a broad mix of conditions:

  • Technological advancements that lead to quick and accurate detection
  • Health issues such as those that organically arise from a growing geriatric population and increasing obesity rates
  • Rising numbers in Americans exercising often enough to meet government recommendations

Taken together, it’s easy to see how a near-5% CAGR is possible within the next few years. As that rate means increased opportunities to treat patients dealing with potentially life-altering health issues, it means a positive future for manufacturers, healthcare providers, and patients alike.

Contact us today to learn how a DEXA can improve the health and fitness of your clients.

Sources

cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/20929/file-1563567081-pdf/docs/PLAN_-_Eagle_PI_-_White_Paper_-_What_is_DEXA_Technology_and_How_Does_it_Measure_Fat_Content_of_Meat.pdf?t=1437661657657
databridgemarketresearch.com/news/product-launch/dexa-equipment-market/
newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/journal-pharmaceutical-health-services-research/study-reveals-disparities-osteoporosis
www.popsci.com/american-exercise-guidelines-charts#page-3
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190305111432.htm
www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/03/25/1760330/0/en/The-1-2Bn-World-Market-for-Bone-Densitometers-2024-DEXA-is-Dominating.html
www.marketwatch.com/press-release/bone-densitometers-market-worth-us-12-bn-by-2022-global-industry-size-share-analysis-company-profiles-key-regions-2019-04-12
qz.com/1230097/new-cdc-report-shows-americans-exercise-more-than-ever-but-the-obesity-rate-is-growing/

bone density dexa-bone density scanner-dexa body scanner

The Most Accurate Method of Measuring Body Fat & Visceral Fat

It’s a common enough riddle that you likely know the answer immediately:

Q. What do people make that you can’t see?
A. Noise.

It’s clever, though not entirely accurate. That’s because there is something else people make all the time that we can’t see: visceral fat.

Visceral Fat vs. Subcutaneous Fat

We can see a person’s size, of course. If that person’s body weight translates to a comparatively oversized backside, for example, people may agree that the person is “fat.”

When we talk about the kind of fat located on a person’s belly, thighs, and rear, we’re referring to subcutaneous fat. It’s the fat just under the skin.

While body fat that accumulates in the belly area may serve as a tell-tale indicator of visceral fat, you can’t see visceral fat with the naked eye. Visceral fat hides beneath the surface, surrounding your internal organs.

It’s there that visceral fat contributes to a host of serious ailments, including higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

Measuring Fat

Both types of fat can wreak havoc on a person’s physical and mental health. That makes diagnosing and treating the factors that contribute to obesity — now an epidemic in the U.S. — crucial.

While there are multiple techniques for measuring fat, however, not all of them are considered equal. In fact, some are now regarded as inaccurate or unreliable.

Another problem: measuring that impossible-to-see visceral fat suffocating the healthy operations of our vital organs.

So, which methods of measuring body fat — including and especially visceral fat — are the most accurate? Here’s the rundown.

Body Mass Index

For generations, professionals and laypeople alike lauded the body mass index (BMI) approach to determining a person’s body fat percentage. Today, however, BMI is recognized as an inadequate attempt to estimate something as physiologically complicated as body fat.

The simplistic formula — weight in pounds/(height in inches x height in inches) x 703 (to convert the index from the original metric version of the formula) — remains in favor at organizations such as the Center for Disease Control, but far more accurate tools are now available. WebMD gives BMI a grade of “D.”

Visceral fat measurement accuracy: BMI cannot measure visceral fat.

DEXA

“Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry” — referred to as DEXA — offers highly detailed imaging capabilities. With it, healthcare professionals can measure bone density, muscle, and body fat.

That body fat measurement includes visceral fat, making DEXA testing an invaluable weapon for combating the deadly condition. DEXA is as convenient for patients as laying on a table for a procedure that lasts mere minutes. The DEXA scan uses a very small amount of radiation, roughly less than half the amount the average person would receive walking outside.

WebMD gives DEXA an A grade. One of its experts states “ … (I)f you have the opportunity to be tested by DEXA, go for it.”

Visceral fat measurement accuracy: DEXA is considered the “gold standard” for measuring visceral fat; no other technique is considered as accurate.

Skinfold Calipers

A technological step up from BMI, medical research into the accuracy of skinfold calipers finds them an improvement over BMI, but with some important caveats.

The most important of those is the skill and experience of the person administering the skinfold test. Are the exact same places on the subject’s body being tested? Is an appropriate amount of the patient’s body being pinched? Unimpressed by the relatively narrow window for accuracy here, WebMD gives skinfold calipers a grade of “D,” putting them in the same class as BMI.

Visceral fat measurement accuracy: Skinfold calipers cannot measure visceral fat.

Hydrostatic (Underwater) Testing

As its name suggests, hydrostatic testing involves the submersion of the test subject into a tank of water. Muscle is denser than fat, which helps practitioners of this technique calculate body composition.

Health professionals consider hydrostatic testing accurate. There are two notable downsides, though: the need to submerge the patient underwater and a relatively high barrier to entry with respect to cost and housing the large testing tank. WebMD says some might find the procedure “disconcerting” and expect it to reach “has-been” status soon. In a nod to its accuracy, the site nevertheless gives the method a B- grade.

Visceral fat measurement accuracy: Hydrostatic testing provides good body composition data. It cannot determine the distribution of especially dangerous visceral fat, though.

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) involves a scale that sends an electrical current through your body to determine your body fat percentage by measuring fat and lean body mass. This feature is common in many newer bathroom scales, including those available at popular retailers like Walmart.com.

Unfortunately, even medical-grade BIA devices (which contact more of a subject’s body than just their feet) are not considered especially reliable. Even taking a shower before a test can impact results. WebMD gives BIA a C+ grade.

Visceral fat measurement accuracy: Consumer-grade scales with BIA cannot reliably and accurately measure visceral fat.

More Than Meets the Eye

Overcoming the threats presented by visceral fat means more than merely making its dangers “visible” to the general public. It also requires leading-edge tools. Right now, there is no better tool for identifying and measuring visceral fat than a DEXA machine.

As a result of its growing prominence in healthcare, DEXA scans are less expensive and more accessible than ever before. To learn more about how you can get a scan, contact us today.

Sources

www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-aim-at-belly-fat
www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-measure-body-fat#section3
www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/belly-fat/art-20045809
www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/top-5-ways-calculate-body-fat/
www.nib.com.au/the-checkup/healthy-living/how-to-measure-visceral-fat
www.verywellfit.com/what-is-hydrostatic-underwater-weighing-3120276
www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/body-fat-measurements#1

Are DEXA Scans Safe?

Put simply, DEXA scans are safe. The most prominent exception: women who are pregnant.

They’re also effective. There’s no question a DEXA body composition (comp) scan does a remarkable job quantifying key health indicators such as bone density and visceral fat percentages.

Any technology that utilizes X-ray technology, however, invites questions of safety. To help address any such questions you have, we’re happy to provide this FAQ.

How is radiation exposure measured?
From a health and safety perspective, the radiation exposure unit of measurement is called a “sievert.”

How many sieverts of radiation does a DEXA scan provide?
Depending on your size, a DEXA body comp scan delivers 1-4 uSv. That “uSu” stands for 1,000,000 microsieverts — a relatively minuscule amount of radiation.

To put that in perspective, the average person receives about 8 uSv of radiation by merely walking around. That radiation is coming from cosmic rays, the Earth’s crust, and other sources.

Is it okay to get more than one DEXA body comp scan done per year?
Yes. In fact, 3-4 DEXA body comp scans are safe. A round trip cross-country flight exposes you to much more radiation: 40 uSv.

What is considered the acceptable limit of radiation scans in a year?
If you require multiple medical examinations, the acceptable limit is 20 mSv per year. Note that’s “mSv,” which stands for 1000 millisieverts — not as much as a standard Sievert but magnitudes higher than a single DEXA scan range of 1-4 uSv.

Striking the right balance

It’s also important to consider the risks associated with not getting a DEXA scan.

Failing to discern dangerous bone density levels can pave the way to osteoporosis. Overlooking visceral fat percentages may lead to metabolic syndrome. And a delayed response to sarcopenia — the so-called state of “skinny fat” where the loss of musculature as one grows older is paired with the presence of excessive weight — can impair cognitive function.

If the trade-off between staggering physical ailments and improved health and wellness is one-tenth of a cross-country flight’s worth of radiation, that’s likely not a bad deal.

No better time than now

Consult with your physician to address this and any other health concerns you have, of course. And when you hear that DEXA body comp scans are safe, find a provider today and schedule an appointment. Better health awaits.

For any additional questions you have about DEXA machines, please feel free to contact DEXA+ today!

dexa body scanner-dexa scanner for body fat-DXA Scanner-bone density dexa

5 Ways DEXA Supports New Revenue Streams

An American Medical Association survey1 found that a desire to help people is the driving force behind many of the people who choose medicine as a career. But even with such a desire leading the way, business operations must also demand their fair share of attention to ensure that selfless decree can be heeded.

That’s why it’s important to always keep an eye out for opportunities to increase a practice’s revenue. A DEXA machine can play a vital role in supporting new revenue streams. Here are five ways it can achieve that.

1. DEXA Powers Revenue Diversity

Investors consider diversification a must for healthy portfolios. Businesses today are no different. A diverse portfolio is crucial to attaining and retaining a healthy bottom line. One study found that “diversification — whether measured in terms of products and services, geography, or number of customers — correlates strongly and positively with financial success.”2

A DEXA machine is an ideal diversification tool. It provides a range of services (measurements of bone density, muscle mass, visceral fat) that work across multiple business types (medical, wellness, nutrition, fitness).

Settling on diversification as a revenue stream strategy means confronting a number of questions. Below are such questions and how DEXA addresses them.3

Diversification Questions

Diversification Answers

What can our company do better than any of its competitors in its current market? Despite its clear — and medically backed — advantages, many people continue to rely on outdated and ineffective methods such as body mass index and skinfold tests as gauges for their health. Body comp testing is gaining ground on them, but the window is still open on getting the jump on competitors and offering more thorough and reliable data.
What strategic assets do we need in order to succeed in the new market? A staff experienced in client service and the technical requirements of their roles, a measure of public awareness, strategic partnerships (with, for example, physician practices and/or corporate wellness programs): these and other represent a nice complement of strategic assets.
Can we catch up to or leapfrog competitors at their own game? Competition today is becoming much more about client experience than about any other business trappings. While a competitor might have a DEXA machine, your office’s capabilities to exceed client expectations represents the true point of distinction.
Will diversification break up strategic assets that need to be kept together? A DEXA-based diversification effort strengthens strategic assets since they all flow from the same foundation of technology-enhanced wellness support.

 

2. DEXA’s Features Anticipate Market Needs

It’s a quote so well-worn in business that you’d expect it to be frayed, yet it remains as relevant as ever: “Skate to where the puck is going.” It’s how hockey legend Wayne Gretzky explained his effectiveness on the ice. Since then, it’s been adopted by the business world as axiomatic. In a world beset by an obesity pandemic as its population ages more rapidly than ever before, there was literally never been more apt circumstances to deploy a resource such as a Lunar iDXA.

Fighting back against the diet-and-lifestyle circumstances that increase diabetes and cancer as well as the bone health concerns of an aging populace means deploying powerful new strategies. And a DEXA machine is as powerful as they come: with a scan as brief as just a couple of moments, DEXA machines can quantify several key markers impacting health today and the prospects of a healthier tomorrow — which can be leveraged in a plan to begin improving both immediately.

3. DEXA Services Can Be “Productized”

One recommended course of action with respect to business diversification is the idea of turning solutions you offer into products or programs. That means incorporating a DEXA machine’s capabilities into a package of services or as a key component of a client wellness program. This results in enhanced value and a potential new revenue stream.

Examples of this might include a body comp scan as part of:

  • A fitness program operated in partnership with a personal trainer
  • A nutrition program conducted in-house, with a local care facility, or with a participating dietician
  • An annual health assessment (to provide additional services to — and realize a new revenue stream from — current clients)

Such programs work well in terms of revenue streams because they scale better4 than labor-based services that, beyond a certain size, can tax your available resources and space.

4. DEXA Works With Partnerships

Speaking of partnerships in the wellness space: DEXA offers a great opportunity to create a revenue stream there, too. Personal trainers, nutritionists, life coaches, corporate wellness program directors: all of them could introduce genuine distinction and value to their respective services — and a new revenue stream for you — by teaming with a DEXA-powered practice. More than 500,000 small businesses are started each month, an amount that practically guarantees viable partners are waiting for you.

Finding and negotiating with them can be a challenge, however. Keep the following points in mind and you should do fine:

  • Identify businesses with complementary goals. As previously stated, this could be personal trainers, nutritionists, etc. Keep in mind that you’re looking for partners with complementary goals, not overlapping goals. Before you reach out to any, make sure you can elucidate the benefits they will potentially receive. The “WIIFM?” element is crucial to demonstrating your interest in a win-win arrangement.
  • Connect with those businesses. Reaching out to potential partners may be as simple as sending an email, making a phone call, or asking for an introduction from a common LinkedIn connection. Joining your local chamber of commerce can also present a great opportunity.
  • Consider a test phase. Maybe the personal trainer gets a volume- or milestone-based discount on DEXA scans for a predetermined period, with your clinic receiving a certain percentage. Tests are so important to ensure an effective rollout of a new revenue stream that they comprise our next point in full.

5. DEXA Tests Well

Few words engendered greater disdain in our younger years than “Time for a test!” or any of its variants. But times change. Now, we understand that tests in business play a critical role in establishing a strong foundation and helping ensure productivity — and profitability — with any effort.

Testing new DEXA-powered revenue streams assumes, in most cases, one of the following two scenarios:

Scenario #1
In circumstances where a practice already has a DEXA machine to provide bone density examinations, testing a new revenue stream is a relatively straightforward process. After all, the machine is already there, the staff is already trained, and clients already have some awareness of it.

Scenario #2
Ironically, instances where a clinic does not already have a DEXA machine don’t require a markedly different process. The assumption here is that a clinic considering a DEXA machine already has a business plan already developed around providing bone density exams or body comp tests. Investigating revenue streams is still about adding to something rather than creating something entirely new.

In both situations, the aim is to expand upon established services. Doing so will ideally involve a test phase that:

  • Gauges the efficacy of the revenue stream and/or its execution
  • Requires only a modest financial investment

Not every attempt to introduce a new revenue stream succeeds. (If you don’t remember Amazon’s Fire Phone, you’re not alone.) But with proper planning and careful testing, a new revenue stream powered by a DEXA machine presents a strong move at the right time.

Next Steps

If you’re looking for additional revenue streams for your practice, contact us today. We look forward to putting our 20+ years of experience to work helping you!

References
1https://www.ama-assn.org/survey-us-physicians-overwhelmingly-satisfied-career-choice
2https://www.bdc.ca/en/Documents/analysis_research/diversification_financial_performance.pdf
3https://hbr.org/1997/11/to-diversify-or-not-to-diversify
4http://www.ignitiongroup.com/propulsion-blog/seven-ways-to-create-new-revenue-streams

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