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Discover your total body composition with your first DEXA scan

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Because Health's mission is to empower individuals to achieve optimal health by connecting with, educating, and inspiring our audience toward health and longevity.

Now that you’re ready to have your body composition measured with the DEXA scan, we’ll tell you what to expect, what you’ll learn, and how to use the data to inform your longevity roadmap.

How DEXA works

The DEXA scan is a compact, inconspicuous device with a table-top “arm”. The open design helps patients relax and enjoy the comprehensive body scan. It works by sending out a low-energy x-ray beam to measures soft tissue and bone density.  

It analyzes your body's fat, muscle, and bone composition. It prints out percentages, mass, and images of the data after the scan.

Is DEXA the most reliable method for measuring body fat?

The simple answer is “yes.”  

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry is used in the DEXA scan (DXA). The test considers more than just your weight and BMI (BMI). It calculates your fat-free mass, total fat mass, and total body fat percentage.

“BMI” or “Body Mass Index” measurement methods are helpful and still in use today, but the classic skinfold calipers or more recent developments such as hydrostatic weighing and bioelectrical impedance analysis do not provide a clear differentiation between healthy and unhealthy mass. For example:

  • If you have a low body fat percentage, a lot of muscle mass, and strong bones, your BMI (and weight) may be incorrectly labeled as overweight. 
  • Conversely, if you have a perfectly “healthy” BMI, you may still have a high body fat percentage and a lot of visceral fat (fat stored in the abdominal cavity).

As advanced as it may sound, DEXA scan preparation is as simple as preparing for any other X-Ray. For your DEXA scan, you'll lie flat on a table with your ankles and knees gently resting together to align your lower body.

The machine's arm then moves slowly over your body for 5-10 minutes. It is painless, and unlike a traditional MRI, you will not be confined to a small space. Wear no metal (jewelry, buttons, zippers).

How to prepare and what to expect

The DEXA scan requires very little prep. Keep hydrated and avoid eating for better outcomes (at least 3 hours since your last meal). Take calcium supplements 24 hours before your test to ensure reliable findings.

When you visit us at a Because Health Longevity Club, a trained specialist will meet you. After measuring your height and weight, the scan will begin. It takes less than 6 minutes.

You can then discuss the findings with one of our trained medical specialists. Your results will be examined, and recommendations made (i.e., lose fat, gain muscle, increase bone density). Save your results packet as a reference in case you need to follow up (3-6 months for body composition and a year for specific goals like bone density).

Why you should take this test

This scan may be used by anyone looking for more comprehensive information on a variety of physiological components affecting performance and aging. Athletes use this scan to monitor their muscle mass and fat percentage.

Because of its wide variety of uses, anybody concerned about longevity and a youthful appearance can benefit from this scan. When you learn about your body composition, you can follow a healthy, customized nutrition and weight training plan for lean muscle that produces visible results.

A DEXA scan measures total body fat percentage and fat distribution accurately. When you come in for your appointment, our team will share with you the DEXA scan results and treatment plan, including personalized dietary and exercise recommendations. If you’d like to see typical post-scan follow-up and diet and exercise recommendations, see our article here.

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