Why can't I take a calcium supplement before my scan?
You may continue taking your usual calcium supplement up until the day before your scan, but DO NOT take it on the day you are scheduled to be scanned. Taking a calcium supplement before the DXA scan can lead to false results and provide an inaccurate portrayal of the bone mineral density. You may be rescheduled if you have taken a calcium supplement on the morning of your scan, so remember to wait until afterward to take it.
How long will the scan take? Does it hurt? Is there anything special I need to do to prepare for the scan?
The DXA scan is non-invasive and painless. It only takes a few minutes to complete. You will not have to lie in a metal tube or remain still for an extended period of time. You do not have to fast before the scan. You do not have to remove clothing for the scan.
The most important things you need to do to prepare for your DXA scan are to forego taking a calcium supplement on the day of the scan, and wear comfortable clothing without metal buttons or zippers. A more detailed description on preparing for the scan can be found here.
I heard that women are far more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, and I'm a man. Do I need to worry about getting a bone scan?
Osteoporosis isn't just a women's disease; men can develop it, too. All men over the age of 70 and women over the age of 65 should be scanned for osteoporosis.