4 Situations that Require a Chest X-Ray (And What to Expect)

If you’ve ever had chest pain, you know it’s not fun. If you’ve ever had a nasty cough that won’t go away, you understand misery. Situations like these that involve the chest often require diagnostic tests like x-rays. Luckily, urgent care centers like GoHealth Urgent Care offer quick, painless X-ray services that can identify the problem fast so you can get better.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, chest x-rays are the most common x-ray test used to diagnose health problems. But what health problems result in the need for a chest x-ray? Let’s find out:

Scenario #1: A persistent cough

A cough is caused by irritation in the nerves in your airway. A chronic cough, which may require a chest x-ray, lasts 8 weeks or more. Sometimes a persistent cough can be an indication of conditions like pneumonia, which can be diagnosed through a chest x-ray. 

Scenario #2: Allergies

Allergies can have a huge impact on the chest and lungs. They can make breathing difficult and uncomfortable, can cause congestion and other symptoms.  A chest X-ray can help determine if the symptoms that appear to be allergy-related are actually allergies, or something more serious.

Scenario #3: Asthma-related breathing

Difficulty breathing can be a symptom of another health problem like asthma. That’s why medical professionals use chest X-rays when a person comes to them with shortness of breath. Chest X-rays allow the doctor to look at the lungs, heart, and other internal structures that may indicate a condition like asthma, or something more serious.

Scenario #4: Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a serious disease that affects the lungs. The bacteria that attack the lungs can travel and attack other parts of the body, making diagnosis and treatment incredibly important. A chest X-ray can help diagnose and monitor tuberculosis so the right amount of treatment is sought.

What to Expect if You’re Getting a Chest X-Ray

Do you have a health problem that requires a chest X-ray? Don’t worry. Chest X-rays are easy and can be done in under 30 minutes. Plus, your x-ray becomes a permanent part of your medical history so all providers in the Northwell system can easily access them.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that a chest X-ray is performed through the following steps:

  1. The patient stands in front of the X-ray machine.
  2. The healthcare provider will ask the patient to hold his/her breath while the X-ray is taken.
  3. An image of the chest is taken by the X-ray machine.
  4. The patient will then be asked to stand sideways.
  5. Another image is taken by the X-ray machine.

This procedure is virtually pain-free, so you have nothing to worry about. If you have breathing problems or a persistent cough, visit a GoHealth Urgent Care location nearest you. We’ll figure out what the problem is and help you get better.