A chest X-ray produces a black-and-white image of the organs in your chest. Structures that block radiation appear white, and structures that let radiation through appear black.

Your bones appear white because they are very dense. Your heart also appears as a lighter area. Your lungs are filled with air and block very little radiation, so they appear as darker areas on the images.

A radiologist — a doctor trained in interpretation of X-rays and other imaging exams — analyzes the images, looking for clues that may suggest if you have heart failure, fluid around your heart, cancer, pneumonia or another condition.

Your own doctor will discuss the results with you as well as what treatments or other tests or procedures may be necessary.

May. 14, 2014