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Bone Densitometry


Bone densitometry is a scan (test) that measures bone density. A loss of density may increase your risk for osteoporosis. Bone densitometry is also called a dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. DXA scans use x-rays to show if your bones have lost minerals, such as calcium, causing them to become weak. DXA scans are usually done on your hip, spine, or forearm. A DXA scan can also be done of your entire body.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Protect your bones:

  • Eat foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D. Examples are milk, cheese, yogurt, salmon, tofu, almonds, and beans. Limit caffeine. Ask your healthcare provider if you need a calcium or vitamin D supplement.

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Exercise can help increase your bone density and decrease your risk for fractures. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Prevent falls. Keep your home well lighted so you can see things clearly. Remove throw rugs, or secure them to the floor. Install grab bars near your bathtub and toilet. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about preventing falls in your home.
  • Limit alcohol. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can decrease your bone density, and increase your risk for a broken bone. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you need help quitting.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You fall and think you may have broken a bone.
  • Your condition or symptoms suddenly get worse.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.