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Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)

Human blood consists of three different types of blood cells. One among those are the erythrocytes, which give the red color to blood and are hence known as Red Blood cells .45% of human blood consists of Red blood cells. The function of Red blood cells is to carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body, and bring carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled.

A Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate is a simple blood test which is performed in order to determine the rate of sedimentation of red blood cells in the period of an hour.

How is the Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate test performed?

A sample of blood is drawn from the patient. The collected anticoagulated blood sample is placed in an upright tube, known as a Westergren tube. The red blood cells are allowed to sediment in the bottom of the tube. The rate of sedimentation is measured and reported in millimeter/hour.

Why the ESR test is performed?

ESR test is performed in order to detect inflammation in the body. When inflammation is present in the body, certain proteins cause red blood cells to stick together and sediment faster than normal to the bottom of the tube. These proteins are produced by the liver and the immune system under many abnormal conditions. Thus the ESR test can be useful in diagnosing conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, cancers, and infections such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. It also helps in detecting the status of a disease and to understand the efficiency of the treatment provided.

What is the Normal range of an ESR?

For Men: 0-3 millimeters per hour (mm/hr) For Women: 0-7mm/hr

What are the causes of high sedimentation rate?

High sedimentation rates may be caused by:
● Autoimmune diseases, such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
● Cancers, such as lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
● Chronic kidney disease.
● Infections, such as Pneumonia, Pelvic inflammatory disease, and Appendicitis.
● Inflammation of joints (Polymyalgia Rheumatica) and blood vessels (Giant Cell Arteritis).
● Inflammation of the thyroid gland
● Kidney, bone, joint, skin, and heart valve infections.
● Pregnancy and Preeclampsia
● Viral infections

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