X-rays have revolutionized medical treatments and saved many lives, but despite their success, they produce radiation that can give rise to health problems. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of X-rays and how they affect our bodies.
Wilhelm Roentgen called the phenomenon he discovered "X" rays because they had not been identified yet. Over time, the name stuck.
X-ray radiation often gets a bad wrap for its ability to harm cells in the body. But it's also extremely useful for monitoring events inside the body. Even more, harmful radiation can be put to good use to treat certain cancers -- of course, under the full supervision of a medical expert.
A CT scan uses multiple X-ray images to give doctors a more detailed, 3-D glimpse inside a patient.
Roughly half of Americans' radiation exposure results from X-ray technology and nuclear medicine.
To reduce X-ray radiation, you'll see doctors and dentists use large, padlike aprons lined with lead to prevent the rays from penetrating other parts of patients' bodies.
All three tools teach us interesting things about the cosmos, but in this category, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has the edge over the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes -- focusing specifically on areas in space that give off X-ray radiation.
Surprisingly, cigarettes contain radioactive lead and polonium. Since each cigarette contains as much radiation as one chest X-ray, an entire pack would expose you to several times more radiation than one X-ray.
Although radiation sickness causes hair loss between one and four weeks after the fact, it's not as quick as the initial nausea and vomiting experienced within minutes after excess exposure to radiation, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Unlike other forms of ionizing radiation, X-ray radiation doesn't stick around. Once a medical imaging machine is turned off, it doesn't produce additional X-rays and leaves no lingering radiation.
For both sexes, previous exposure to X-ray radiation matters, especially since its negative health effects add up over time. But for women, disclosing information about being pregnant is also important to avoid exposing an unborn baby to potentially harmful radiation.