What is Body Mass Composition?
Body mass composition is defined as the amount of fat and non-fat mass present in a person’s body. A healthy body mass composition is one that comprises of a lower body fat percentage and a higher non-fat mass percentage. The basic difference between the two forms of body mass, fat and non-fat mass, is:
- Fat mass: This is located under the skin (subcutaneous fat), around organs (visceral fat), and in muscle tissue. Some proportion of body fat is essential for overall health. The “essential fat” aids in safeguarding internal organs, reserves fuel for energy, and controls crucial body hormones.
- Non-fat mass: This is found in the body’s bones, muscles, water, tissues, and organs. They are also known as lean tissue. Non-fat mass tissues are metabolically highly active and burn calories for energy, whereas the body fat does not.
What is Body Mass Composition Using DEXA?
Measuring the composition of your body will help provide unique details about your body’s makeup and identify areas to work on in order to improve your overall body health and wellness.
Traditionally, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) is used to measure bone density. However, physicians also consider DEXA to be more accurate and reliable than any other techniques for measuring body fat percentage, including replacing the underwater weighing technique as the new “gold standard.”
Body mass composition measurement using DEXA utilizes two low-energy X-ray beams to calculate total body composition and fat content with a high level of accuracy. In other words, DEXA furnishes a detailed picture of the body composition, including information on bone and tissue composition, bone mineral density (BMD), fat tissue mass, and lean tissue mass. New research has indicated that the scan is extremely precise when compared with other methods for establishing body mass composition and highly helpful for tracking changes in muscle and fat over time.
Indications for Body Mass Composition Using DEXA
Evaluation of body mass composition with DEXA can look beyond weight and the conventional body mass index (BMI) to determine the body fat distribution, which is a crucial risk factor in various conditions. DEXA examinations can provide valuable information on diseases, such as:
- Chronic renal failure
- Cystic fibrosis
- Anorexia nervosa
Working Mechanism of DEXA in Body Mass Composition
The DEXA is a sleek and unobtrusive machine with an arm-like structure that extends out over the table that you lie on. As a result of its open and broad design, individuals can comfortably undergo the test without any feeling of claustrophobia. The system works by conveying a low x-ray beam that accounts for two compositions within your body, one measures soft tissue and the other measures bone. After the scan, you will be provided with a printout where you will see images, mass, and percentages accounting for the various information obtained.
Preparation for Body Mass Composition Using DEXA
Body mass composition measurement using DEXA requires very minimal preparation instructions. You should ensure that you are well hydrated and do not have any food in the stomach at least 3 hours prior to the exam. It is also essential to take calcium supplements a day prior to your exam to obtain accurate bone density and body mass composition readings.
Procedure for Body Mass Composition Using DEXA
The procedure is performed by a trained and certified technologist who will perform the scan for you. After measuring your weight and height, your technician will ask you to lie down on the table to start with the scan, which takes about 6 minutes. Once the scan is complete, you will be provided a copy of the report. A copy will also be sent to the ordering provider.
Body mass composition scan using DEXA is a scan that can be utilized by anyone as the test offers so much detailed information regarding several components in your body. Athletes who are generally curious to keep track of their overall fat percentage and muscle mass can get this scan done as it is highly beneficial and helps to maintain their overall fitness and professional goals. As a result of the wide use of the scan, it is advisable for an average health-conscious person to get this scan done in order to gain awareness regarding their body mass composition and its implications.