X is for DEXA X-ray

X-ray seems like a cop-out for the letter x. There aren’t many words that start with x – Xenia, X marks the spot, and xenophobia. None of that moved me. So I am writing about the old standby – x-ray.

I really did have an x-ray this week, yesterday actually. It was a bone density scan, because that’s what old white women do. We need to find out whether or not we have osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis, you ask? It’s the thinning of your bones to the point that you are more likely to break something if you fall.  It can run in your family (it runs in mine), and there are other things that can also contribute to your chances of osteoporosis.

  1. You are white or Asian.
  2. It runs in your family.
  3. You are a smoker.
  4. You have a small build or frame (you can be tall and still have a small frame).
  5. You lead a sedentary life.

Things you can do to help prevent osteoporosis:

  1. Eat dairy products with calcium – yogurt, ice cream, cheese, cottage cheese, milk.
  2. Eat other kinds of food with calcium – salmon, broccoli, leafy green vegetables.
  3. Take calcium supplements – Tums, gummies.
  4. Do weight-bearing exercise several times a week. Weight-bearing exercise means you are holding up your own weight while you do something:  walking, hiking, dancing, kick boxing, aerobics, strength training, and volleyball (Swimming and biking are NOT weight-bearing).
  5. Stop smoking.

The bone destiny (DEXA) x-ray is painless and takes a shot of your hips and your spine. My hips are fine, but my low back has been a problem for about 30 years, as long as I’ve had my second kid. It got so bad that I couldn’t carry him and never even tried to carry the third kid after she reached toddlerhood.

My grandmother had a dowager’s hump. When I told the x-ray tech about it yesterday, she didn’t know what that was. My tall grandmother lost five inches of height and developed a hump on her back between the shoulder blades in her old age. The story went that she’d sacrificed her own health by giving the four children all the goat’s milk during the Great Depression.

X is for x-ray, and I did my due diligence by having my bone density scan, recommended every two years after menopause.



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