Body composition by DXA is the “gold standard.” | Body composition scans with DXA provide precise and accurate data on tissue composition, including lean mass and fat mass. Scans provide both total body data and regional results, including arms, legs, trunk and android/gynoid regions. Android fat is in the belly area and when it predominates, represents the “apple” shape associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The gynoid region is the hips and upper thighs where women tend to accumulate fat. A preponderance of fat here is referred to as the “pear” shape which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, etc.
The measurements are fast and non invasive, with the average scan completed in 10 minutes.
Looking beyond the bathroom scale | Accurate measurement of body composition provides valuable information for assessing and monitoring the progress of nutrition and training interventions. While monitoring one’s weight is helpful, it is at best a crude and imprecise way to assess results. Impedance scales and hand held devices are fraught with error.
Values can vary as much as 5% in a single day based on time of day, hydration, if you are sweaty or damp, etc. Skin fold measurements are very inaccurate as well.
Body composition measurement by DXA can look beyond weight, the traditional body mass index (BMI), impedance devices and fat calipers to accurately determine body fat, as well as how that fat is distributed.
What about athletes? | Monitoring athletes’ body composition is easier now than ever: Trending capability allows direct comparison of total and regional tissue. Results help athletes make decisions on the training regimens they use to achieve the best performance. For highly trained athletes, even a small change in body composition can significantly affect performance. Body composition monitoring provides valuable information that athletes and their trainers can use to adjust diet and training regimens. Body composition measurement helps establish a starting point and a target, helping any athlete to pursue a specific goal. Some training regimens, especially for endurance athletes, can lead to muscle loss and a decrease in performance. Monitoring fat and muscle mass can shed light on how various training regimens and nutritional interventions impact body composition and performance.
DXA is an ideal way for all types of athletes – cyclists, triathletes, body builders and other fitness enthusiasts – to monitor their progress.
A bone densitometry test helps your physician to diagnose osteoporosis. The test compares your Bone Mineral Density (BMD) to that of a “young adult” at peak bone strength. This is displayed as your T-score. It also compares your results to people of your same age, called “age matched” displayed as your Z-score.
• Normal: T-score that is above -1
• Osteopenic: T-score between -1 and -2.5 (low bone density)
• Osteoporosis: T score below -2.5
• Lean Mass: Includes all parts of the body (organs, muscle & fluids) but excludes body fat
• Fat Mass and Body Fat Percentage: Tells more about your overall fitness than just weight alone, regional fat distribution tells where body fat is located.
• Android Fat: fat associated with apple-shaped body types. This is a measure of
visceral fat or the fat located around your organs and essential fat.
• Gynoid Fat: fat often associated with pear-shaped body types or fat located
around the hips and thighs.
• A/G Ratio: Ideally this ratio should be below 1.0. This is directly related to the
prevalence of visceral fat, which is the fat insulating the organs
The factors that influence fat distribution are somewhat controllable by YOU. Fat distribution is influenced by hormones, genetics, and race, the presence of toxins, physical activity, malnutrition and stress. Controlling the amount of toxins you are exposed too, exercise, healthy eating and the amount of stress in your life is all controlled by you.
A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures how much calcium and other types of minerals are in an area of your bone. This test helps your health care provider detect osteoporosis and predict your risk of bone fractures.
If you are or could be pregnant, tell your health care provider before this test is done.
The scan is painless. You need to remain still during the test.
Bone mineral density (BMD) tests are used to:
You should have bone mineral testing or screening if you have an increased risk of osteoporosis. You are more likely to get osteoporosis if you are:
Women under age 65 and men ages 50 to 70 are at increased risk of osteoporosis if they have:
Current practice recommends BMD retesting every 2 years. However, recent research suggests that some women may be able to wait a much longer time between their screening tests. Discuss with your doctor how often you should be tested.
The results of your test are usually reported as a T-score and Z-score:
With either score, a negative number means you have thinner bones than average. The more negative the number, the higher your risk of a bone fracture.
A T-score is within the normal range if it is -1.0 or above.
Bone mineral density testing does not diagnose fractures. Along with other risk factors you may have, it helps predict your risk of having a bone fracture in the future. Your doctor will help you understand the results.
If your T-score is:
Treatment recommendation depends on your total fracture risk. This risk can be calculated using the FRAX score. Your health care provider can tell you more about this. You can also find information about FRAX online.
Bone mineral density uses a slight amount of radiation. Most doctors feel that the risk is very low compared with the benefits of finding osteoporosis before you break a bone.
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