Dexa Scan Faqs
What Is a DEXA Scan?
DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) is a quick, non-invasive test that is considered the gold-standard in body composition measurement, providing the most accurate and comprehensive data available.
What Data Does a DEXA Scan Provide?
Unlike other body composition measurement methods, DEXA provides data regarding body fat, muscle mass, bone density, and visceral fat, in percentage and pounds, both for the whole body and 5 main body regions (trunk, arms, legs, hips & abdomen.)
Does A DEXA Scan Provide a Snapshot Of My Health?
Yes, a DEXA scan will shed light on bone health and risk of osteoporosis, visceral fat and risk of chronic disease, muscle imbalances and risk of overcompensation and injury. It also compares your results to others in your demographic (height, weight, age, sex.)
How Often Should I Get a DEXA Scan?
A single DEXA scan (on scan per every 6 months-plus) provides a detailed baseline measurement of your body composition and helps inform a plan to achieve specific goals in body fat percentage and lean muscle mass. More frequent scans (every 2-4 months) can be valuable in measuring the effectiveness of your ongoing diet/exercise regimen, thereby allowing you to make accurate adjustments to these regimens as needed.
Doesn't My Body Fat Scale At Home Work Too?
Traditional stand-on scales and handheld units are among the least accurate of the body composition measurement techniques, with margins of error up to 15%. For a detailed comparison of DEXA versus other body measurement methods please read: The DEXA Difference
Is There Any Special Preparation Required For a DEXA Scan?
No special preparation is necessary, however it is recommended that you scan under the same conditions each time for consistency (same approximate time and activity level).
What Is Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?
RMR is the amount of calories the body utilizes from food (energy) in order to execute and maintain all of life’s functions, i.e. the amount of calories the body uses to function normally. It includes the calories used for brain function, heart beat and transport of blood, lung contractions, and liver regulation of chemical levels in the blood, and even waste process waste. Your RMR is approximately 75% of your total daily calorie burn with the remaining 25% being a combination of exercise and daily activity.
Why Is It Important To Understand My Unique RMR?
RMRs can vary widely, with up to 1,000 calorie variations between people with the same height, weight and age. Establishing your unique RMR allows you to precisely calculate how many calories you should be consuming per day to meet your body composition change goals.
How Does An RMR Test Work?
Oxygen is the key element your body uses to convert nutrition into energy (calories). An RMR test directly measures the concentration of oxygen breathed out by each person. By simply breathing through a mouthpiece, all exhaled air is collected and analyzed. Because there is a direct correlation between oxygen consumed and calories burned (4.813 calories for every milliliter of oxygen consumed), an accurate measurement of oxygen consumption is an effective measurement of calorie consumption. We use KORR technology with medical-grade equipment to conduct the test. Any test that does not measure oxygen concentration is using an algorithm to determine your RMR with the potential for inaccuracies.
What Increases Or Decreases My RMR?
The easiest way to increase RMR is by increasing your lean muscle mass. Every 1lb of additional muscle increases your metabolism by 50-60 calories per day. Consuming significantly less calories than your RMR is the primary reason your body will slow down your metabolic rate in an attempt to conserve energy.
What Happens If I Am On A Very Low Calorie Diet, Less Than My RMR Calories?
Once the body adapts to a low calorie diet it enters into “starvation” mode in order to keep you alive. In desperate need of a fuel source and without enough energy, the body begins to tear down muscle tissue, generating a drop in lean muscle mass, despite efforts used during exercise. At the same time it slows down your metabolism and holds on to your fat which it needs for warmth and body temperature regulation. This explains how severely restricting calories for purposes of weight loss almost always fails. Most people on extreme low-calorie diets are consuming less than their RMR.
How Often Should I Get An RMR Test?
Adding 3lbs or more of lean muscle mass is a good time to consider getting another RMR test, as muscle gain may have increased your metabolism and adjustments to your daily calorie intake should be made depending on how much your RMR has increased. Additionally, if it has been over a year since your previous RMR test and you are about to begin a nutrition program, it is important to get a new RMR test to accurately determine your calorie intake.
Is There Any Special Preparation Required For An RMR Test?
Yes, for the most accurate results, you should be rested, decaffeinated, and fasted up to 4 hours before the appointment.