Things to Know About ESR Test

by Aisha Kapoor Medical Laboratory Professional

An ESR test is also known as a sed rate test or a sedimentation rate test. It does not diagnose one particular health condition or disease, but it aids the doctors to check whether a person is suffering from inflammation. The health care professional will check the ESR results along with other details to aid detect the real problem. The doctors prescribe this test when patients experience inflammation and their red blood cells stick together, building clumps. This blood clumping affects the pace at which RBCs get inside a pipe where a blood sample is kept. 

The test allows the doctor to evaluate how much clumping is happening. The quicker and farther the blood cells go towards the surface of a tube, the more chances of inflammation. The test can check and assess inflammation in the body, but it does not aid in spotting the cause or symptom. The doctor will combine it with other tests to find out the major cause of the symptoms.

Signs one should go for an ESR test

One might require an ESR test if they feel signs of inflammatory conditions like Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and arthritis. These signs and symptoms can include the following. 

  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, and pelvis
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Stiffness and joint pain that stays for more than 30 minutes in the morning
  • Digestive issues like diarrhea, blood in the stool, or abdominal pain
  • Headaches, especially with connected pain in the shoulders



The normal range for ESR outcome is 1–20 mm/hr for women and 1–13 mm/hr for men. These values may vary as per the age of an individual. Those with ESR results other than the standard range may have a chance of a health issue or medical condition.

High ESR value

An extremely high ESR, specifically above 100 mm/hr, maybe a sign of the below conditions. 

  • A white blood cell cancer named Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia
  • Multiple myelomas, a cancer of plasma cells
  • Hypersensitivity vasculitis
  • Temporal arteritis or polymyalgia rheumatica


Low ESR levels

Those with low ESR values may have the following conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • A very high white blood platelet count
  • A high red blood cell count
  • Reduced value of the protein fibrinogen in the blood
  • Hyperviscosity, a growth in blood thickness
  • Leukemia, a blood cell cancer
  • Sickle cell anemia, a particular issue, affecting the form of red blood cells


Moderately high results

A moderately high level of ESR may not be a sign of any health condition but those with high ESR may have the chances of following conditions.

  • Thyroid issue
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Anemia
  • A heart infection
  • A bone infection
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lymphoma, a certain kind of cancer


People with irregular ESR levels may not always have a health condition that needs treatment. A slightly higher value can also occur due to growing age, menstruation or pregnancy. Though doctors cannot detect a particular health condition with an ESR test, the outcome can determine if there is inflammation in the body. In case the test shows any issues, doctors will require to prescribe further tests and find extra information to get a precise diagnosis.

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About Aisha Kapoor Junior   Medical Laboratory Professional

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Joined APSense since, August 28th, 2019, From Haryana, India.

Created on Apr 10th 2020 02:00. Viewed 262 times.


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