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ESR

About the test
What is this test done for?
ESR stands for erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which is a blood test that measures the distance travelled by RBCs while settling down at the end of 1 hour.
Why is it Done?
  • This is a routine blood test used as marker of inflammation in the body. ESR is known as acute phase reactant, which means its level rises immediately in response to inflammation.
  • ESR helps in identifying and keeping a track on infections and diseases that cause inflammation (diseases like infectious fever, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and cancers)
When should it be performed?

This test is performed to aid in identifying diseases

  • Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus (SLE)
  • Infectious diseases like
    • Febrile infections (infections that cause fever)
    • Tuberculosis
  • Cancers
How is it done
A blood sample will be collected from a vein in your arm. No special preparations like fasting required. It is advised to avoid medications like estrogen, testosterone, aspirin, phenytoin, methadone, phenothiazines, prednisone etc for about 12 hours before conducting the test.
Results

The test result is normal, if levels are < 10. It means

  • No active inflammation
  • No source of active inflammation

The test results are high, if levels are > 10. It means

  • Active inflammation present in the body, which can happen in
    • Trauma
    • Infections
      • Acute febrile infections (it increases and falls down quickly)
      • Tuberculosis (it remains high for a longer duration)
    • Cancer
  • Inflammation present in autoimmune diseases like
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Lupus or SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)
Other Tests
  • CRP
    • It is a specialized blood test carried out to evaluate the inflammation present in the body
    • High levels of CRP indicate ongoing inflammation
  • Haptoglobin levels
    • It is a specialized blood test carried out to evaluate the amount of haptoglobin present in the blood
    • High levels of haptoglobin indicate active inflammation in the body
  • Complement factors
    • It is a specialized test carried out to evaluate complements that help to tackle infection
    • High levels of complement factors indicate active inflammation due to infection
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