The DEXA SCAN a new tool at CIMC to measure bone density and get body composition results. Photo courtesy of CIMC
Catalina Island Medical Center has a recently added diagnostic tool to assist patients with gaining valuable information and avoiding potentially hazardous health challenges. The DEXA scanner, which is used to measure bone density, can help health-care provides diagnose osteoporosis.
It has also been determined to be the most accurate and precise method of measuring body fat. Why is that important? The body composition results gained from this test can detect the levels and types of fats stored in the abdomen, waist, chest, upper arms, hips, and thighs. Two common body shapes, “apple”and “pear,” each have their own characteristics. “Apple” shaped men or women may have increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, some cancers and sleep apnea. The overweight “Pear” shaped patients are commonly plagued by mechanical problems like hip, knee and joint issues because of weight related stress on the lower half of the body. Fat distribution is also affected by hormones, genetics, race, the type and amount of physical activity, nutrition and stress.
CIMC radiology technician Dan Boyle can administer a painless 10-12 minute test with a DEXA scan. The scanner which costs over $30,000 was purchased for the hospital by the Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation and is part of a comprehensive program of preventative care for patients seeking improved health and fitness.
Dr Laura Ulibarri says, “Using the DEXA scanner as an important diagnostic tool to tailor effective profiles and individual healthy lifestyle programs. Patients remain clothed and lie comfortable on the scanning table.”
It’s easy enough – even a child could do it. More Catalina kids have diabetes and high blood sugar (pre-diabetes) than the national average. Intervention at school with information about nutrition and exercise will help. Because this test has an extremely low dose of radiation Dr Ulibarri may also prescribe DEXA scans for obese youngsters as a baseline for their overall health evaluation.
It’s important to discover exactly how much of the body is made up of fat—and where that fat is stored.
Patients who are at risk for diabetes hypertension, high cholesterol, elevated sugar and above normal lipid levels can take the results from a DEXA scan and be proactive with their doctor to begin a lifestyle, exercise and nutrition plan.
To find out more about a DEXA scan you should call your physician to ask for a referral. If you do not have a primary physician you may call the Catalina Island Medical Center Group Medical office at (310) 510-0096 to make an appointment with a doctor.