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.
|Also known as||ESR, SED rate sedimentation rate; Westergren sedimentation rate|
|Urinalysis test includes||Detects whether there is an inflammation in your body or not|
|Preparation||No special preparation is required|
|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
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
- 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,
- 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
3. Certain types of cancer
4. Some types of lymphoma and multiple myeloma
5. Older age
8. Kidney disease
10. Heart disease
11. Blood diseases
12. Blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis)
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.