DEXA Body Composition Scan

Know where you are with your current state, discover the right target weight goal, and confirm what’s working for you! 

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DEXA Body Composition Scan

At Revitalize, we use cutting-edge technology to help determine your goals around fitness, weight loss, longevity, and functional life span.  Dexa is the most accurate body composition test in the world.  

What is a DEXA scan?

DEXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scan – also called DXA or a bone densitometry scan – uses X-ray imaging to give you a comprhensive analysis of you body composition.   The results include fat percentage, muscle mass, visceral fat, bone density, and body symmetry.  A DEXA scan is great for getting an initial body composition assessment measure and tracking how your body changes over time.

How does it work?

What are the benefits?

How do I prepare?

How often do I test?

What results are included?

What is body comp?

What is normal?

More Questions?

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Most people are used to stepping on a scale now and then. However, monitoring weight is not the best way to assess wellness or fitness. DEXA body composition scans give you highly accurate breakdowns of muscle, fat, and bone density.

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How It Works

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Schedule

Prepare

Test

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How does a DEXA scan work?

Most people are used to stepping on a scale now and then. However, monitoring weight is not the best way to assess wellness or fitness. DEXA body composition scans give you highly accurate breakdowns of muscle, fat, and bone density.

The Technology

A C-shaped imaging device that uses X-ray technology known as a C-Arm shifts continuously throughout the process, providing a whole-body scan. Photons that attenuate at two distinct energy levels are released during a DEXA scan to distinguish between bone mass and soft tissues. The full-body image and analysis are produced by a unique combination of frequencies prompted by the differences between bone, fat, and lean mass density.

The precision of DEXA scans is even more remarkable than their exceptionally high level of accuracy. The ability to monitor subtle and significant shifts in body composition and distribution over time makes a DEXA truly valuable. Although DEXA scans are comparable, it is crucial to test on the same equipment each time for optimal results. 

Please note that DEXA scans do subject you to small amounts of radiation.  A whole body scan produces a level of radiation equivalent to flying in an airplane from New York to California.

Your Appointment

Upon arrival, you will be greeted and and taken back to meet with our licensed technologist who will perform the scan for you.  You will receive a bin to store any metal objects during the test. After measuring your height and weight the technician will help position your body to get the best image. The C-Arm will move up and down your body for roughly 6 minutes until it has captured a complete image.

After your scan we will review your results with you, highlight any health risks associated with your results, and give you suggestions on next steps to achieve any goals your set. (i.e. reduce risk, gain muscle, lose fat, increase bone density additional testing etc.) 

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What are the benefits of a DEXA scan?

Whether your goal is to lose, gain, or maintain your weight, the DEXA scan provides an in-depth body fat analysis, including a breakdown of subcutaneous vs visceral fat mass, lean mass, and bone density. Knowing this information about your body is crucial for optimizing your wellness, preventing disease, and tracking change over time.

Regardless of your weight loss, weight gain, or weight management goals, the DEXA scan offers an extensive examination of your body fat. This includes an analysis of lean mass, bone density, and subcutaneous versus visceral fat mass. To maximize your well-being, avoid illness, and monitor any changes over time, you must be knowledgeable and have ready access to these essential facts about your body.

Look beyond the bathroom scale

Have you ever started a new exercise regimen or diet and been shocked or annoyed by your weight gain instead of loss? As hard as it might be to accept, this is not unusual. Most individuals don’t know the significance that weight can represent or how the body (and its weight) fluctuates throughout the day. At times, during exercise, the body may use energy from muscle mass instead of fat mass if there is a caloric deficit or an imbalance in the intake of macronutrients. The DEXA scan is a valuable monitoring tool because it allows you to closely examine your muscle and fat tissue locations and track changes over time. Consistent testing helps to confirm that you are on track or reaching your goals and burning or gaining body mass in the best way for you and your body.

Furthermore, Visceral Adipose Tissue—the invisible fat that resides in between your organs—can be a significant contributing factor when it comes to unexpected increases in body fat. Hidden deep inside the body, this type of fat is most dangerous since it cannot be viewed with the naked eye. A DEXA scan is the only test capable of accurately identifying whether a person – even one who is lean and seemingly healthy – has harmful levels of visceral adipose tissue present in their body.

BMI vs. Dexa

One of the most common measurements for determining a person’s healthy weight for height is their body mass index or BMI. This approach, however, has a lot of drawbacks. Bone, the densest substance in the body, is followed by fat, which is the least dense, and muscle in between. So, despite sharing similar weights, individuals tested using BMI may have significantly different body compositions that would result in an inaccurate reading or assessment. An individual with low muscle mass and severe obesity, for instance, may weigh the same as a lean person who has substantial muscular mass. 

BMI does not take into account any additional factors that may contribute to weight because it is based entirely on height and weight. This is among the many benefits of using body composition scans. This is among the many benefits of using body composition scans. To deliver the most accurate overview and image of your well-being and determine wellness risks, a DEXA scan can effectively distinguish between fat and lean mass in each part of an individual’s body. 

Note: BMI is a valuable measurement for evaluating the stress on joints due to weight. Every pound of bodyweight places four to six pounds of pressure on each knee joint, regardless of contributing factors.

How do I prepare for a DEXA scan?

Wearing light, comfortable, form-fitting clothing—such as gym attire—is the best way to dress for a DEXA scan. You should NOT have on any metal or jewelry. Wear clothing free of underwires, belts, snaps, fasteners, and zippers. Loose-fitting sweats should also be avoided.

Do not take calcium supplements for 24 hours before testing.

Fasting 3 hours before testing is recommended while remaining hydrated and using the bathroom before the scan. Individuals should avoid vigorous exercises or activity for four to six hours before the scan is scheduled to occur.  If you have any metal in your body, let the technician know ahead of the scan so they can take that into account when analyzing the scan. The accuracy of your results may be impacted by this. If you suspect you could be pregnant, do not get a DEXA scan.

How Often Should I Get Tested?

Although DEXA scans are highly accurate, their precision is even more impressive. The real significance of these tests stems from their capacity to monitor subtle and significant shifts in body composition and distribution over time. DEXA scans are incredibly similar to one another. 
How often you should be tested will depend on how strict your diet and workout routines are. Typically, we advise testing every three, six, or nine months.

We advise testing every six or nine months if your goal is to maintain your current body composition.  

We advise testing more regularly to ensure that you are on track for successfully achieving your goals if you are:

Beginning a new exercise program or plan 
Preparing for a race
Cutting down for a show 
Or looking to improve your overall health

We may advise testing every three to six months, depending on the training level and the timeframe set for your goals. 

What results are included with a DEXA scan?

Complete Breakdown of Body Composition by Region as well as relevent ratios and Population Comparisons

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Bone Density

Total bone mineral density (BMD) . Shows how dense the bones are and can be used to assess the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Results will compare your bone density to that of a healthy 30 year old as well as compare your results to people similar in age & ethnicity. 

What is body fat?

Body fat, sometimes referred to as adipose tissue, is a type of connective tissue that is distributed throughout the body and controls metabolism by releasing hormones that interact with organs and the brain. While sufficient fat mass is necessary for a healthy body to perform several vital functions, excessive body fat can be harmful. 

Adipose Tissue

As fat cells proliferate and expand in size, adipose tissue increases. Fat cells swell and accumulate throughout the body when an excessive amount of calories are consumed over an extended length of time. These cells cannot be eliminated once they are formed. However, dieting and other weight-loss techniques can reduce their size. There is a higher risk of Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease in larger fat cells since these cells are more insulin-resistant. This helps to explain why higher body fat percentages are linked to Type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and premature death.

Three main types of adipose tissue perform different and very important functions in overall body function:

White Fat

The term “body fat” typically conjures up mental images of white fat (fat that consists of a pale white or yellowish color.) It is mainly located around the belly, hips, and thighs and stores body fat. This type of fat is visceral (builds up around your organs) and is subcutaneous (graspable in the hand). 

Insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, and food intake are all influenced by the more than fifty hormones, enzymes, and growth factors secreted by white fat cells. Excessive white fat interferes with hormone function and can lead to Type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and early death, among other health issues. 

Brown Fat

Warming the body in cold weather and preventing hypothermia are essential and primary functions of brown fat. Brown fat creates the energy necessary for heating the body by breaking down sugar and fat. Brown fat additionally plays a role in controlling how these substrates are metabolized.

Brown fat levels peak in infancy and then decline with maturity.

Beige Fat

The characteristics of beige fat cells are a combination of both white and brown fat cells. These cells are thought to have originated from white cells (by a process known as “browning,” which is brought on by exposure to cold temperatures, a healthy diet, and exercise). Still, they burn energy similarly to brown fat cells. This makes them similar to a combination of white and brown fat cells. White cell clusters near the spine and collarbone typically include beige fat cells.

The location of fat varies, just as differing types of fat do not all share the same properties. The areas of the body where brown fat is found include under the clavicles and in the upper back. Typically gathering in the belly, hips, and thighs, white fat is most dangerous when hidden deep below the skin’s surface and invisible to the human eye. Let’s talk about the types of places fat can be found:

  • Subcutaneous

    The layer of fat found just beneath the skin's surface and commonly accumulating in the back, waist, hips, things, and buttock area is known as Subcutaneous Fat. This fat layer serves as a cushion for the body’s joints and bones and can be held in your hands. However, the risk for adipose-related diseases increases when too much of this type of fat is present in the body. 

  • Visceral Adipose Tissue

    White fat that accumulates deep in the abdominal cavity and wraps around the digestive organs, pancreas, intestines, liver, and heart is known as Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT). An elevated risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is linked to high VAT levels. One common reason an athlete’s body fat percentage is higher than expected is visceral adipose tissue. Not visible to the naked eye, this type of fat cannot be reduced by fitness alone. 
    The location and amount of visceral adipose tissue (VAT), or body fat, are known to predict long-term health. Normal levels of visceral fat shield and cushion organs, while elevated or excessive VAT levels are closely linked to metabolic syndrome. Risks for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, and hypertension all rise as a result. Increasing the risk of dementia, depression, arthritis, sexual dysfunction, and sleep difficulties, excess VAT can directly impact and have an adverse effect on lifestyle. Inflammatory substances are produced in larger quantities when extra fat is stored around the organs. They can disrupt hormones that regulate mood, appetite, weight, and brain activity.

    Visceral fat medical poster. Belly fat surrounds internal organs in abdominal cavity. Overweight disease concept. Losing weight, liposuction and diet. Obesity human silhouette flat vector illustration
  • Why is bone density so important?

    The concentration of minerals in your bones, mainly calcium and phosphorus, is known as bone density. Your bones get stronger and more “denser” as their mineral content increases. The strength of your bones is determined through a bone density test. Along with predicting the likelihood of bone fractures, this test can also identify whether you have a bone disease.

    Osteopenia, for example, is a reduction of bone mass resulting in the weakening of the bones due to calcium loss. Your bones may become increasingly fragile as you begin to lose calcium. Osteoporosis is a severe bone ailment that can develop over time due to your body’s inability to restore lost calcium as quickly as it is lost.

    Osteoporosis can weaken and deteriorate bones so that even the slightest accident may cause a break or a fracture. Over half of all women will develop Osteporosis. Women also sustain approximately 80% of all hip fractures, which usually marks the end of independent living and requires admission into a nursing home. Women are at higher risk for osteporosis because estrogen is critical in the bone rebuilding process and levels decline significantly during and after menopause.  

    Bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteopenia can usually be prevented and is an important metric that we track and treat with our patients to ensure they have a long and healthy lifespan. 

What is a “normal” body fat percentage?

A person’s age and height are two factors that determine how many pounds of lean mass and fat they have on their bodies. Therefore, we employ the body fat percentage measurement to make each person’s unique data comparable when determining whether or not your fat mass is healthy.

National Comparison Data

DEXA is the only body composition analysis tool that uses a large-scale database of population scans to compare your results with those of similar people. You will see how your body fat percentage and bone density compares to national averages for those of the same age, gender, and
race as you.

Comparisons are based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which collected large-scale data on whole-body DXA scans of participants aged 8 years and older to provide nationally representative data on body composition. The study also collected data to examine the association between body composition and other health conditions and risk factors, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and activity and dietary patterns.

Q&A

  • How much does a Dexa scan cost?

    1 Scan – $75

    2 Scan Package $141

    4 Scan Package $241

  • What is a DEXA Body Composition Analysis

    Body Composition measurement with Dual-Dnergy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) can look beyond weight and body mass index (BMI) to determine body fat distribution.

    The DEXA uses small amounts of radiation to produce a whole picture of the body’s fat mass, non-fat mass and bone mass. In addition, DEXA scans provide regional body fat results for the arms, legs, android (waist), gynoid (hips), and visceral adipose tissue.*

  • What are the benefits of a DEXA scan?

    Studies have shown that DEXA scans have a high degree of accuracy, but even more notable is their precision. The true value of a DEXA is the ability to track small (and large) changes in body composition and distribution over time. Your scans are highly comparable, but it is important to always test on the same machine for best results.

    DEXA is the only body composition analysis tool that uses a large-scale database of population scans to compare your results with people who are similar to you. After receiving your results, you will be able to see how your body fat, muscle mass & bone density percentage compares to national averages for those of the same age, gender, and race as you.

  • What should I expect?

    DEXA, or “Dual X-ray Absorptiometry”, is a quick and pain free scan that gives you a significant amount of information about your body. It provides you with an in-depth analysis of your fat tissue, lean mass and bone density.

    The machine is quite simple and easy to lay on. Due to its open design patients can comfortably enjoy the test without feeling claustrophobic. It works by sending dual low power x-ray beams that can accurately and precisely differentiate between bone mineral, lean mass and fat mass.

    After the scan, you will be given a multi-paged print out where you will see percentages, mass, and images accounting for the various data obtained.

    The great thing about the DXA scan is that it requires very minimal preparation. For more accurate results you should make sure you are well hydrated and not have any food in your stomach (ideally 2-4 hours since your last meal). It is also important to not take calcium supplements 24 hours prior to your test to ensure accurate bone density readings.

    Upon arriving at our medical office you will be greeted and taken back to meet with the licensed technologist who will perform your scan for you. You will remove any metal jewelry or objects and store them in a bin. After measuring your height and weight, you will be asked to lie down and get comfortable and the scan will begin. The scan takes 6 minutes.

  • How do I read my results?

    We will review the results with you and will also send you home with an interpretation sheet that covers all of the metrics and and what they mean.
    See Sample Report

  • How long does a Dexa take?

    The appointment is typically 15-20 minutes depending on how many questions you have about the results and ways to improve your results.

  • Should I eat before the exam?

    It is best practice to fast for 3 hours before your scan for the most accurate results.

  • How often should I get scanned?

    We recommend getting a DEXA scan every 3-6 months, depending on your goals and the intensity of your training plan. Most of our customers purchase a package to track their progress over time and stay on target with their goals.

  • Why should I get a Dexa Scan?

    Getting a baseline scan and then regular follow up scans will help you have a clear picture of how your body is changing as you get older.  Our goal at Revitalize is to use data driven recomendations to help you live longer and function better as you age.  

  • What are the benefits?

    Whether your goal is to gain muscle, lose fat or increase bone density, the DEXA scan provides an in-depth analysis. Knowing this information about your body is crucial for optimizing your wellness, preventing disease, and tracking change over time.

  • Who should NOT get a DEXA scan?

    Getting a baseline DEXA should be a priority for all adults regardless of fitness level. The accuracy of the scan will allow you to precisely monitor changes in your body over time with follow up scans. 

    If you are under 18 years of age, pregnant, or are unable to stay still for 6 minutes, you are not eligible for a DEXA scan.

  • Are there any restrictions?

    If you are under 18 years of age, pregnant, or are unable to stay still for 6 minutes, you are not eligible for a DEXA scan.

  • Are there any restrictions?

    Do not consume calcium supplements for 24 hours prior to scan and wait seven days after having a CT with contrast to get your DEXA scan.

Give us a call at 801-999-8252 with any other questions
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Check out this 3-minute video of Peter Attia explaining how DEXA body scans help maintain a functional lifespan as we age.
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