Abnormalities in body composition are a key predictor of a patient’s risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. While a traditional Body Max Index (BMI) exam is used to measure excess weight and diagnose clinical obesity, it does not show you where on the body the excessive fat is. The traditional BMI does not give the complete picture. However, Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals just introduced a piece of technology that does just that.
“What this Whole Body Composition Dexa Scan is going to do is digitally present the data in a series of colored easy-to-read graphic reports,” Department Manager Jennifer Sanders said. “Basically, it’s going to be a colored scan mapping fat, lean muscle mass providing more accurate and detailed measurements of body composition.”
The Whole Body Composition Dexa Scan is growing in popularity with personal trainers as this allows them to establish goals for their trainees using personalized data. With this scanner, physical trainers are able to pinpoint what areas are most in need of work and determine which activities will lead to the best result for the individual.
Some professional athletes are using this exam for similar reasons. While burning off fat may not be the goal, it could help athletes identify if one
arm body part is stronger than the other, for example, giving them the knowledge that there is a difference in the strength of those areas. Providing them with these details helps them become a more well-rounded, goal-focused athlete. Not only do the professional athletes get this assessment, but it is also becoming popular for college athletes and is open to high school athletic programs as well.
Sanders is excited to offer this medical technology to Northwest Indiana communities. Unlike other tests, this scanner does not require a doctor’s order. All it requires is a phone call to (219) 981-5440 to schedule an appointment and an upfront payment of $75 dollars. Cash, check, or charge will be accepted as insurance does not currently cover the cost.
The scan takes about six minutes and the scanner functions as a sort of x-ray, but with far less radiation. With such a small amount of radiation, Sanders said that, within reason, people can schedule as many scans as they would like. This comes in handy for people who are seriously trying to lose weight or gain muscle. They can schedule multiple scans a year to get a more comprehensive graphic of their progress.
“This is one of the most extremely detailed BMI exams out there,” Sanders said. “It highlights the body, and it uses different colors to show patients where their fat level is vs lean muscle and bone. It’s a pretty interactive report.”
Sanders hopes that the female patients who come in for this scan will also serve as a way to decrease anxiety by coming to a breast center for this exam. She thinks this could encourage people who need a mammogram to feel more at ease and more motivated to get one. Whenever they see someone come in for this scan or another service who has not had a mammogram, Sanders said their staff will always ask if they would also like to get a mammogram done while they are there helping to get women on track regarding their annual mammograms.
Sanders and the staff are excited about the increased foot traffic to come following the official release of their Whole Body Composition Dexa Scan on February 8.
“We’re really excited to be the first hospital to release this here in Northwest Indiana and to reach out to the community and improve their overall health regarding cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” Sanders said. “This will help us to be part of the solution in helping our community.”
To learn more about Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospitals, visit https://www.methodisthospitals.org/clinical_services/breast-care-center/.