How To Help Patients Understand

bone density scan

How To Help Patients Understand the Results of DEXA Bone Density Scan

The human body consists of over 206 bones which give the body stability, these living tissues act as a support system for the body as they have several functions; from supporting the structure of the body to producing bone marrows that manufacture blood cells. Now, every human has a specific level of bone density required, and a deficiency in the amount of bone mineral in the bone tissues leads to the defect known as osteoporosis. The introduction of DEXA bone density scan has made the knowledge of deficiency in the bone easy to handle and treat.

What is DEXA bone density scan?

DEXA bone density scan is a painless and safe X-ray scan used mostly to measure the bone density of a patient to check for the fragility of bones in the body and to avoid the risk of fracture. DEXA bone density scan which is also an acronym for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry is usually the next option most doctors prescribe whenever they notice cases of osteoporosis or osteopenia in their patients. It is usually a fast procedure that takes less than 15 minutes for the total diagnosis.

What gets measured in DEXA bone density scan?

The DEXA bone density scan assesses the current level of bone density. The scan is usually directed at the center of the skeleton, especially targeting the hip and the spine. Most times, the scan also does a routine diagnosis of body composition such as fat and lean muscle.

Difference between T-score and Z-score

The T-score of a DEXA bone density scan indicates the differences between the bone mass of a person who underwent a bone density scan from that of a healthy 30-year-old adult.

The Z-score, on the other hand, is the difference between the tested bone density and that of someone of the same gender and age. It is helpful in the assessment of secondary osteoporosis especially among women, children, and young adults.

How doctors typically share results with patients?

Most times, sharing results with patients is one of the toughest tasks to do as a doctor, because most times it involves sharing negative reports with the patients and their loved ones. As doctors, it is imperative to make sure that whenever they intend on sharing results with their patients, they ensure they have a relative with them unless when specified.

Tips for making DEXA scan results easy to understand

To make it easier for results of the DEXA scan to be understood, there is a need for sensitization of the patients. Here are some of the following tips to know:

  1. A score of -2.5 or below is a sign of osteoporosis
  2. Low bone density most times is signified by a low T-score
  3. Osteopenia is most times diagnosed by a score of between -1 0 and -2.5

How DEXA bone density scan machines improve treatment and tracks progress.

  1. The DEXA bone density scan helps to monitor and identify those who would need pharmaceutical treatments.
  2. The DEXA bone density scan also points out patients whose hip or spine T-score is less than -2.5

It can be noted that DEXA bone density scan has helped in the early diagnosis of bone defects such as Osteoporosis and Osteopenia. This fast and reliable method of diagnosis is becoming widespread and has be proven to be safe and effective.


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