As the human body ages, various problems start to surface. Skin that was once taut and youthful becomes old and saggy. Joints that were once limber become stiff and arthritic. Problems with the skin and joints are among the most common worries of aging people, but what about bones?
Once a person hits middle age, it is time to get a bone density scan. These people usually shake their head in confusion when their doctor orders a bone density scan as part of a complete physical exam. Also known as DEXA, a bone density scan involves using x-ray technology in an advanced form to calculate the amount of minerals (specifically calcium) in the bones.
One of the most debilitating maladies that people face as they age is osteoporosis. This is a medical condition in which the bones lose so much calcium that they become brittle and break easily. Also, this condition causes people to hunch over. So, in order to diagnose this, as well as other medical problems, it is very important to have a bone density scan.
The procedure itself is painless. Basically the patient lays still while a very minor form of ionized radiation scans the body - paying particular attention to the hips and legs. The patient should wearing comfortable clothes (avoiding clothes with things like zippers) and no jewelry. If the patient is found to be wearing any of those things, their clothes will have to be removed entirely. The process will be performed, usually, as an outpatient procedure.