My DEXA Scan and What it Taught Me About My Health

Close up DEXA scan photo of a person's knees

If you’ve ever visited Cambridge, you’ll know what a unique and wonderful city it is. And if you haven’t yet, you haven’t lived! All jokes aside, Cambridge is a city that will stay with you forever and paying a visit should definitely be on your bucket list.

I was very fortunate to live in Cambridge for the first few years of my time in the UK. You’re probably asking why I left, and I do still sometimes ask myself that question, particularly when I’m back in Cambridge as I am at the moment for a week. That’s a long story, but what I can say with certainty is that it will always hold a very special place in my heart and I’m blessed to be able to be able to come back for brief visits fairly often.

Once of the things that I most love about Cambridge, as most do, is its stunning college buildings. Everywhere you look there are beautiful spires, gargoyles and courtyards staring at you. And all that is just the book cover, as they say. Inside all those hallowed buildings lies world renowned research and expertise that is arguably unparalleled in any other one location in the world.

Cambridge’s academics and researchers are always on the look out for volunteers to help them. I was more than happy to oblige and I learned so much from participating in a large number of  academic research studies while I lived there. I’m not talking needles and taking trial medications. I’m talking academic research studies, brain scans and, on one occasion, a DEXA scan.

What is a DEXA Scan?

A DEXA (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) Scan measures bone, fat, and muscle in your body. It’s now readily available in every state in the U.S and, of course, in most if not all European countries.

DEXA Scans allow patients to have their bone density measured. It can be particularly helpful for older people. Essentially, low bone density usually means that a patient is at risk of suffering bone fractures and that they may benefit from changes in diet and exercise. A DEXA Scan provides a very precise measure of a person’s fat and muscle, and reveals where it is distributed in their body.

My DEXA scan was a pretty simple exercise. Basically I lay down on a comfortable table for 15 minutes and a wand was scanned over your body. It was painless, non-invasive and, very fortunately, the radiation is low. I was given my results quickly and an outline picture of my body showing my bone density and body fat measurements.

What Did I Learn?

Quite a bit! You might think, “bone density and body fat”, big deal! But they’re both critical to one’s health and actually knowing the stats, as it were, was extremely enlightening. I learned that my bone density is excellent and I’m certainly in the healthy range on that score. In fact, I was told that I have heavy bones!

Body fat, well, that one leaves a little to be desired! But the good news is that, other than my more recent health problems, I’m actually pretty healthy and having some excess body fat isn’t presenting too much of a problem at the moment. Doesn’t mean that weight loss isn’t desirable, of course, but you know what I mean!

My Health

You may have read my recent posts on my current health difficulties. Fortunately, things seem to be on the up, as I apparently have Stage 1 cancer, much to my relief.  My next oncology appointment is at the end of April and I’ll be writing an update post shortly after this.

For now, if you have any concerns about, or are simply curious about getting a scan that gives you a fully accurate picture of your bone health and your body fat ratio, I can’t recommend a DEXA Scan highly enough.

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