As someone who likes to exercise, it’s important to me that I’m able to look after my body properly. In doing so I can perform at my best, so when I was recently invited to have a DEXA scan I was keen to find out more.
A DEXA Scan is used for basic body fat measurement. It’s a way to precisely measure body composition such as muscle, fat and bone. It’s often used by athletes to pick up muscle asymmetries between their left and right sides.
This is important to me because when I was training for my first half marathon I succumbed to injury. It was a big blow to my training schedule, but thankfully I was able to recover and complete the half marathon. When I was training for my second half marathon, I experienced another injury which was almost saw me pull out of the half marathon.
Now that I’m in training for the London marathon in April this year, injury is one of my biggest fears, and that’s the main reason why I was keen to have the DEXA scan. It can pick up on muscle imbalances which are often caused when our chosen sport causes us to favour one side, or when we use improper form that makes our dominant side do more work. These asymmetries throw weight distribution off, cause muscle miscoordination, and create unnatural stresses that lead to injury.
It’s not just athletes who can benefice from a DEXA scan though. People who are trying to lose weight can also benefit, as well as those who have poor bone and muscle mass.
A DEXA scan can monitor the progress of your weight loss by taking an initial baseline scan. This will let you see exactly where you are when you start, and you can then track how much body fat you’re actually losing and how much muscle you’re gaining.
DEXA results will show you:
- Overall body fat, lean tissue (muscle), bone weight and percentages
- Breakdowns for both legs, arms and your torso
- DEXA scan image showing where your body fat and muscle is distributed
- Visceral fat (the dangerous fat around organs)
In order to be eligible for a DEXA scan you will need a referral from your GP. There is also a fee of £100 (price may vary depending on where you go for your scan).
I was referred by my GP and received a phone call from the clinic to book my appointment.
When I arrived for my scan I was asked to undress down to my pants and put a gown on. I then lay on the scanner bed and the lady doing my scan positioned my arms and legs.
The scanner bed moves, along with the scanner arm which moves to your right side, then directly over you and then to your left side.
The scan took around 5-8 minutes. The lady who did my scan then advised me that she would send my results directly to my GP the same day and that my GP could then deliver the results to me.
Your results are broken down into two scores. You have a T score which shows your bone mineral density compared to young adults of the same gender in peak health. 1 and above is considered normal, between 1 and 2.5 is classified at osteopenia (low bone mass), and below 2.5 is classified at osteoporosis (extremely low bone mass).
You then have a Z score which shows your bone mineral density compared to other people in your age group of the same size and gender. If this score is more than 2 standard deviations above or below average, it may indicate a need for further medical tests.
My results all came back ok which is very reassuring.
Overall, I was very pleased with the DEXA scan. I didn’t know it existed until I was asked to review one and I feel that it’s given me a greater understanding of my body.
For the purpose of this review I was compensated for my time and the cost of the scan was paid for me. All views and opinions are 100% my own.