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ESR Westergren

What is this test?

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate is a blood test that measures the rate at which the red blood cells sediment at the bottom of a test tube in an hour. Normally, the red blood cells settle down very gradually at the bottom of the test tube. But in the case of inflammation, the cells clump together and become denser. This makes the cells to quickly settle to the bottom of a test tube. Therefore this test is performed to determine the presence of inflammation in the body. The inflammation can be due to infections, autoimmune disorders, cancers etc. However, this test does not specify the exact cause of inflammation. Your doctor may ask you to perform other tests along with this test to rule out the exact cause for your symptoms.

This test is performed to rule out the presence of inflammation in the body. Your doctor may ask to perform this test if you experience any signs and symptoms of inflammatory diseases. This includes fever, joint stiffness, headache, abnormal weight loss, loss of appetite, neck or shoulder pain, unusual abdominal pain, blood in stool, diarrhea etc.

If the test result falls in the normal reference range generally no medical intervention is necessary.

The ESR value may alter due to many factors such as age, pregnancy, menstruation, obesity, use of certain medicines such as oral contraceptives, aspirin, cortisone and vitamin supplements etc.

Low ESR test values or slow ESR rate can be due to polycythemia, a condition where the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells; congestive heart failure, hypofibrinogenemia, leukocytosis (high white blood cells count), anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome etc.

High ESR test values can be seen in case of pregnancy, kidney disease, thyroid disease, or in individuals with high cholesterol etc. Abnormally high ESR test values indicate the presence of infections, autoimmune diseases and/or cancerous tumors. Autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic vasculitis, temporal arteritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, hyperfibrinogenemia etc. The symptoms of inflammatory diseases are fever, joint stiffness, headache, abnormal weight loss, loss of appetite, neck or shoulder pain, unusual abdominal pain, blood in stool, diarrhea etc. Certain infections that show high ESR values are heart infections such as myocarditis, endocarditis, pericarditis; tuberculosis, bone infection, rheumatic fever, skin, and systemic infection.

Precautions:

Certain medications that cause low ESR test results are medicines used to treat seizures such as phenytoin, valproic acid, divalproex sodium; aspirin, prednisone, cortisone, phenothiazines. Medications that may cause high ESR test results are oral contraceptives, testosterone, estrogens, methyldopa, methadone, dextran, heroin etc.

If you have higher or lower than normal levels of ESR test results consult your doctor for further instructions. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests.

Also known as ESR Westergren Blood, Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Westergren, Sedimentation Test, Sed Rate Test.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your ESR Westergren. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for ESR Westergren.

No specific preparation is required for this test. However, if it is performed along with other blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours.

Understanding your test results

GenderAge groupsValue
MALEAll age groups0-22mm/hr
FEMALEAll age groups0-29 mm/hr
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