DXA and Body Composition: Emerging Clinical Applications– Dual-emission x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was primarily developed for the diagnosis of osteoporosis and is widely utilized in clinical practice. In research applications, DXA is the recognized gold standard for assessing body composition as it is highly precise, accessible, and requires a short scanning time. However, DXA is underutilized in clinical practice for body composition analysis because many clinicians are unaware of this emerging clinical application.
Consider the following:
Overweight and obesity-conditions affect an estimated 97 million Americans and are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Physician supervision is necessary to detect and treat weight-related medical conditions.
According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050, the number of people 90 and older may reach 9 million. Sarcopenia is the age-related involuntary loss of skeletal muscle mass and functionality that can lead to the development of disability, frailty, and increased health care costs. Data support a research approach on preventive and treatment strategies for osteoporosis and sarcopenia targeting both bone and muscle tissues.
While imprecise, most non-DXA body composition analysis techniques are adequate for treating and managing the general patient population. However, many of the routine methods currently in clinical use are not precise enough to differentiate the percentage of fat, lean muscle, and bone necessary for treating and managing certain diseases and patient cohorts, eg, bariatric patients, some pediatric and geriatric patients, and those patients with wasting diseases, eating disorders, and digestive disorders.
Assess the role of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in the evaluation of body composition.
Describe the pitfalls and challenges in using DXA for identifying at-risk patients.
Compare DXA to other methods of body composition analysis used in the clinical setting.
Identify the patient populations that would best benefit from body composition analysis.
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