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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DEXA scan bone density test

After two bone-related injuries, my sports doc threatened me with a bone scan. Actually, he insinuated that I could have a the female athlete triad, and perhaps an eating disorder!!!!!!!
Then he glanced at my thunder thighs and changed his mind. No eating disorder over here, not in a million years. He still wanted the bone scan, but bone scans are expensive, and I was tired of paying thousands of dollars over this lousy stress fracture. I deferred.

But wait! What have we here! Look at this flyer I found on my car after work! That, dear readers, is a flyer for a free bone scan. It is part of the Louisiana Osteoporosis study. I practically fractured another bone falling all over myself to rush to the testing site. After filling out a medical history and signing away all rights to my DNA (so much for ever committing the perfect crime...), I was cleared to participate in the study. 
It was pretty basic: I had blood drawn (to tag my results with my DNA), then my blood pressure, grip strength, height, and weight were measured. My blood pressure was unusually high that day, thanks to the 11 flights of stairs I climbed to reach the room where they test, but otherwise results looked normal. 
Next I got in the DEXA machine for my bone scan. The process doesn't take long, but you do have to lie still for several minutes.

Once the scan was complete, the technician provided me with a printout showing my fracture risk category, my Z and T scores (bone strength compared to your own age group and the age group with the strongest bone strength, which for a caucasian female is 21 years old, respectively), BMI, and fat and lean mass percentages. 

Fat vs lean%

My femoral neck: well into the "safe" category

Wow, full body composition!
Safe to say, my bones aren't the problem. They're strong and dense, just like me. All safely positive T scores.
Except the area of my spine that curves: still not a fracture risk, but T and Z scores are negative

It was also interesting to note lean mass and body fat percentage. It was divided by body part. My right leg is the fattest part of my body: 25%!!! But my trunk is a skinny 15%. I believe we call that a "pear shape", no?

Ever had a bone density test? Would you get one if you were fracture-prone?


  1. So funny on the breakdown of body fat--my thighs would be off the charts! I had a DEXA scan several years ago after a sfx--same result, all normal. I guess it's comforting to know, right?

  2. Glad your scan came out normal. That's a relief. One of the perks of being a school teacher is that every year you get a free wellness screening through our insurance. They even do a bone scan!

    Glad you were able to save some money and get some peace of mind. Keep up the good work!

  3. I have never had a bone scan. It looks fascinating though!

  4. "Strong and dense, just like me..." Comic gold.

    I've never had one of these scans, and I'm afraid the body fat % might put me over the edge.

  5. I am SUPER fascinated by this kind of stuff, so I would totally do it. I participated in a study last year about leg strength in female runners & got a bunch of free metabolic testing & it was awesome!

  6. This was really interesting but really made me laugh more than anything at you calling yourself pear-shaped. Aren't there pics of you on here basically being tall'ish and thin? That's also interesting about the body fat percentages divided into various parts instead of one general number. It sounds like a much more accurate assessment. Oh, and 11 flights of stairs? Don't y'all have elevators in LA?

  7. Glad that your scan all produced positive results. I would love to take a bone scan test, since I had a stress fracture 2 years ago. Though my guess is that I'd be fine, but you never know what the results would be!

    On a side note, I asked my PT person what she thinks the problem with my knee is, and she said that it might be a muscle attachment problem or something - the pain is in inside left knee, a little below the knee cap in terms of height. It is in a similar spot as my runners knee injury from 2 years ago, so maybe it is simply related to that.

  8. what good timing! hooray for expensive tests made free and especially strong bones!