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What Is The ESR Blood Test?
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What Is The ESR Blood Test?

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or Sed rate is a type of blood test that reveals whether there is an inflammatory activity in your body or not. Though the ESR blood test is not a diagnostic tool, it helps your doctor to diagnose or monitor the progress of the inflammatory disease. This ESR test measures how rapidly erythrocytes (red blood cells) settle at the bottom of a test tube that contains a blood sample. Usually, RBC settles slowly. A faster-than-normal rate may portray the presence of inflammation in the body.


The cost of erythrocyte sedimentation rate is Rs. 100-Rs.120. Depending on your locality, the price may vary. Please check the price of the ESR test in Delhi/NCR, your nearby centers and other details.

Test Summary 

Also known as ESR, SED rate sedimentation rate; Westergren sedimentation rate
Test Type                                            Blood
Urinalysis test includes Detects whether there is an inflammation in your body or not                                                    
Preparation No special preparation is required
Reporting Within 24hrs
Test price The cost of erythrocyte sedimentation rate is Rs. 100-Rs.120. Depending on your locality, the price may vary.
Also included in Health Insurance Plans
Related tests C-Reactive protein, CBC


When Do You Need an ESR Test?

An ESR test diagnoses and identifies inflammation in your body. But it is not a standalone test to identify the cause of inflammation, that’s why this test is recommended with other tests. Your doctor may suggest a range of tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.

If you are suffering from an inflammatory condition, your doctor may recommend this ESR test as part of your routine examination to monitor how the treatment plan is going.

The ESR test is beneficial in helping your doctor to diagnose conditions that cause inflammation. These healthcare conditions are,

  • Temporal arteritis
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cancers
  • Infections


The ESR test also helps your doctor to monitor autoimmune inflammatory conditions, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)


Your doctor may prefer this test if you have:

  • Joint pain or stiffness that continues for more than 30 minutes, especially in the morning
  • Headaches, especially those associated with pain
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Pain in the shoulders, neck, or pelvis


Digestive problems

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Blood in your stool
  • Unusual abdominal pain


Preparation for An ESR Test

The ESR test demands little or no preparation. But inform your doctor if you are taking any medications. Sometimes, your doctor may recommend stopping the medications before the test.

Certain medicines may affect ESR test results. For example,

  • Steroids 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Statins may cause a possible false result


But don’t stop your medications unless your doctor instructs

During the ESR Test Procedure

To perform this test, you need to give your blood sample. The procedure hardly takes one or two minutes.

  • First, a lab technician identifies your vein only from the upper hand
  • Then, the vein is cleaned
  • Then, a needle is inserted to draw your blood
  • Once the blood is collected, the needle is removed carefully
  • A gauge or banded is placed to stop any bleeding


Then, your blood sample is kept in the tube and is sent to the lab for further analysis. During the test, the lab technician processed the test to assess how far the RBCs sink into the tube, how quickly they sink, and how many of them sink.

Due to inflammation, abnormal proteins appear in your blood. RBCs are clogged together due to these. Thus, they fall more quickly.

You will get your test results within a few hours or during the same day.

What are the Two Types of ESR Tests?

Two common methods for measuring your erythrocyte sedimentation rate are

1. Westergren Method

This method is the most applauded test method for the ESR test. In this type of test method, your blood sample is collected into a Westergren-Katz tube until it reaches 200 millimeters (mm). The tube is stored vertically and kept at room temperature for an hour. The distance between the top of the blood mixture and the top of the sedimentation of RBCs is measured.

2. Wintrobe Method

The Wintrobe method has many similarities to the Westergren method. But here the tube is much thinner and the length of the tube is 100 mm.

The downside of this method is that it is less sensitive as compared to the Westergren method.

The ESR Test Results

The test results are commonly measured in millimeters per hour (mm/hr). The higher number reveals the presence of inflammation. Generally, women have higher ESR levels.

Normal ESR results are

Normal ESR test results Abnormal ESR test results
Females under 50 between 0 and 20 mm/hr. greater than 20
Males under 50 between 0 and 15 mm/hr. greater than 15
Females over 50 between 0 and 30 mm/hr. greater than 30
Males over 50 between 0 and 20 mm/hr. greater than 20
Children between 0 and 10 mm/hr. greater than 10

An ESR test result of higher than 100 mm/hr indicates that you have diseases like cancers, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.


What are the diseases that can cause a higher ESR test result

There could be a plethora of reasons that may elevate the levels of ESR. These diseases are,

1. Systemic and localized inflammatory infectious diseases 
2. Trauma
3. Certain types of cancer
4. Some types of lymphoma and multiple myeloma
5. Older age
6. Pregnancy
7. Anemia
8. Kidney disease
9. Diabetes
10. Heart disease
11. Blood diseases
12. Blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis)
13. Obesity
14. Thyroid

Are there any risks to the test?

An ESR test involves minimal risks. You may have slight pain or bruise at the puncture site that will dissolve automatically.

Is fasting required for this ESR test?

You don’t need to fast before this ESR test.

Is ESR high in the case of COVID-19?

The ESR rate has increased manifolds for confirmed COVID-19 patients. The high level of ESR may continue even after recovery from COVID-19.

Why do women have a higher ESR level?

The ESR is higher in women than men due to the elevation of fibrinogen levels.

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