ESR Blood Test
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)
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An ESR blood test is helpful in the diagnosis of conditions associated with high inflammation. Conditions associated with inflammation include:
An ESR blood test can also help detect if you have an infection.
ESR is an indirect measure of inflammation which is present in the body. The test measures red blood cells’ sedimentation (rate of fall) (also known as erythrocytes). The red blood cells are counted as they fall to the bottom of a tall, thin blood tube.
After an hour, the number of millimetres of clear plasma present at the top of the column is measured.
The red blood cells will fall slowly into a healthy, inflammation-free body, leaving very little clear plasma. However, increased blood levels of specific proteins that increase inflammation (such as immunoglobulins and fibrinogen) cause the red blood cells to fall faster, increasing the ESR.
Both ESR and C-reactive protein (CRP) are markers of inflammation. Usually, ESR changes less rapidly as the concentration of CRP. However, CRP is not affected by as many factors as ESR.
It is important to note that a slightly higher ESR is detected in women, and both menstruation and pregnancy can cause temporary elevations.
Whilst no preparations are necessary for an ESR Blood test, you must let your healthcare provider know if you are taking any medication. Several medications may increase or decrease your ESR, so you must let your provider know which medication you take.
The ESR Blood Test is a simple blood test where the phlebotomist will take a small blood sample and collect it in a vial or test tube. The process usually takes around five minutes.
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Blood tests are ordered by the doctor as needed based on the patient’s symptoms and concerns. Occasionally alternate or additional tests may be required for accurate diagnosis.
Taking a relaxed approach to your ESR test results is important. Rather than worrying excessively if they are abnormal, work with your doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms.
The doctor usually orders follow-up tests if they think your ESR results are high or low.
Elevated ESR is most commonly caused by conditions that cause inflammation but can also result from other health problems. Some examples of health issues that can elevate an ESR include:
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