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About DEXA Scans
Legal disclaimer: Since we are not doctors, never follow anything based on health-related topics on this or related sites without first consulting with your doctor or other trusted health professional.
A Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry or DEXA scan delivers precise information, by area of the body, for muscle mass, fat content, and bone density. Radiation is always a concern. According to Wikipedia:
The radiation received by the patient during the scan is less than that of an airline flight from California to New York and back.
In short, a non-zero exposure, but an irrational concern in the context of anyone who lives at higher altitude and/or visits the mountain or flies on a plane regularly.
A DEXA scan is generally used primarily for osteoporosis evaluation, but is invaluable to athletes in setting realistic goals for gains in physical fitness and body composition. In my view, it should be much more widely used for the general public for encouraging a more healthful lifestyle— the hard figures might a shock to many. It is far superior to the misused BMI (body mass index) metric.
Shown below is one page of a DEXA scan, which I had performed at the practice of Dr. George Smith, M.D., in Daly City, CA. On the pages that follow, the DEXA scan will be discussed along with its implications for training in terms of body weight, muscle mass, body fat, and bone density. How to use this scan is explained in detail on subsequent pages.