What is BIA?
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, or BIA, is a fast, easy, and painless method of assessing body composition, which helps determine how much of your body weight is muscle versus fat. Knowing this can be a key part of improving your health status, losing or gaining weight in a healthy manner, and even increasing longevity.
Excess body fat is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other health problems. If you can detect this early, you can reduce your risk for developing complications from the disease process. Sounds strange to think you wouldn’t know if you have excess body fat. However, if you’ve heard the phrase “skinny fat,” you may be familiar with the idea. This is when a person’s weight falls within the healthy range, but the percentage of body fat is too high compared to muscle tissue. Research has shown that being “skinny fat” can have as many health risks, or more, as being obese. So your goal shouldn’t be to “lose weight”. More accurately, you want to lose body fat, not muscle or other tissues, thereby increasing your overall health picture while improving body composition.
How Does It Work?
While you may have a bathroom scale with body composition features, it may not be as accurate as the test we perform. Why? Standing scales or handheld units may contribute to unstable venous pressure due to standing up, whereas our test is performed with the patient lying down. Additionally, callouses and/or temperature and moisture variations on your hands and feet can skew results when using handheld or scale-type BIA units.
BIA is often used in research labs for scientific studies or in athletic departments for detailed body composition analysis. However, it is also useful in the clinical setting. Obtaining measurements is straightforward and fast, allowing you to leave the session with your results. After obtaining a current weight and height, the patient lays down, and two electrodes are placed on the right hand and two on the right foot. They are connected to a device that sends out an low level weak electrical impulse that cannot be felt. The impulse travels through your tissues at different rates. Tissues with more fluid and electrolytes, such as blood, have high conductivity, whereas denser tissue like bone and fat slow the signal down. The rates are measured and from those results the machine calculates estimates of body fat, muscle mass, and body water.
What Does It Measure?
- Body Fat: Pounds and Percent
- Fat-Free Mass/Muscle Mass
- Total Body Water
- Intracellular and Extracellular Water
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
- Phase Angle: A measurement of how healthy your cells are, which can indicate disease risk
- BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
- DEE (Daily Energy Expenditure)
These measurements can assist in determining a calorie level suited to weight and body composition goals and a nutrition plan.
Who Would Benefit from Using BIA?
Depending on your health status and goals, having BIA done 2-4 times per year provides valuable feedback to see if your diet and exercise regimens are working for you. Don’t waste another minute in the gym – sometimes the scale weight remains the same but you may be losing fat and gaining muscle, meaning your metabolism increased!
- Anyone interested in weight loss or gain, whether recovering from a health issue or interested in general health.
- Those with fluid balance issues, which can distort a scale weight.
- Adults – over the age of 18.
- Especially valuable for seniors due to unavoidable muscle loss with age.
Who Should NOT Use BIA?
- Anyone with an implanted electrical device such as a pacemaker, medical pump, etc.
- Pregnant women, as the risks are unknown.
Interested in Scheduling a BIA Session at Newbridge?
After the first session, you have the option to schedule stand-alone BIA sessions at a lower cost of $40 plus tax.
Schedule an appointment by calling Newbridge at 612-730-2237. If you are a new patient, start by filling out the Welcome Form and an Intake Specialist will contact you at their earliest convenience.
- No alcohol 24 hours prior
- No caffeine 4 hours prior
- No exercise 4 hours prior
- Drink 2 glasses water 2 hours prior (dehydration overestimates body fat)
- Empty bladder and/or bowel before test