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A Dexa Scan also referred to as a Dual energy X ray absorptionmetry is a means of measuring bone mineral density.  Dual energy X ray absorptiometry  is the most widely used and most thoroughly studied bone density measurement technology.

Women at risk of osteoporosis, especially if over 50 years should get a DEXA scan.  Many risk factors are taken into consideration before a DEXA scan is ordered, some factors include prior fragility fracture, heavy smoking, excess alcohol intake, rheumatoid arthritis, parental history of hip fracture, chronic renal and liver disease, chronic respiratory disease, and several others. 

DEXA is a safe and painless scan that requires no injections, and is a non invasive procedure.  During the exam you remain fully clothed and lie on a padded table while the machine scans one or more areas of the bone.  

There are two areas of bone mass are generally measured, those are spine and hip areas.  Comparisons are made to your actual bone density to the density your bones should be to resist breaking (which is the bone density of a 30 year old).  The result of the comparison is called a T-score to indicate your level of bone density.  Your T-score as well as your personal history will be used to determine your diagnosis.