Doctors recommend Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) tests if they suspect you have an infection. This test aids in determining whether the body is affected by an infection, disease, or other condition that might be causing inflammation. Although ESR does not directly aid in the diagnosis of a condition, it assists physicians in determining which additional tests may be required to identify the actual issue precisely. It can also be used to assess a patient’s response to a particular treatment for a disease for which they are receiving treatment.
This article aims to explore what an ESR test is, its normal range, and what causes ESR fluctuations.
What is an ESR test?
The ESR test, also known as the Sed rate test, measures how quickly red blood cells in your blood settle to the bottom of a test tube. It indirectly measures the level of specific proteins that help blood cells settle. Your body’s level of inflammation can be determined from these protein levels.
In most cases, RBCs settle slowly. Nonetheless, if your tests show a high settling rate, i.e., high ESR levels, they might demonstrate an unhealthy state in your body, which shows up as high ESR side effects.
What is the normal ESR level range?
Typically, ESR is measured in millimeters per hour (mm/hr) unit. After an hour, it displays the distance between the transparent liquid (plasma) at the tube’s top and your red blood cells. The presence of inflammation can be seen in the higher number. Since women have higher fibrinogen levels, they typically have higher ESR levels compared to men.
If the ESR level is greater than 100 mm/hr., it indicates the presence of cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
What can cause fluctuations in ESR levels?
Higher ESR test result
A body’s high ESR rate can be caused by a variety of factors. A few common conditions include:-
- Advanced age factor
- Iron deficiency or anemia
- Thyroid illness
- Transient arteritis (blood vessel inflammation)
- A specific kind of arthritis
- Kidney illness
- Multiple myeloma
- Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia
A higher-than-normal test result may also indicate an autoimmune disorder, such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Giant cell arteritis
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- An excessive amount of fibrinogen in the blood
- Primary macroglobulinemia
- Allergic or necrotizing vasculitis
The ESR test results can also deviate from the normal range if certain infections are present. They include:
- Rheumatic Fever
- Skin infection
- Heart infection
- Heart Valve infection
- Bone infection
- Systemic infection
Lower ESR Test Results
In most cases, a low ESR rate is not regarded as a problem. However, if the value is too low, it may mean that a person is experiencing one or more of the conditions listed below.
- Sickle cell anemia
- Congestive heart failure
- Low plasma protein (liver or kidney disease)
- Hypofibrinogenemia (low fibrinogen level)
Your ESR test results may also be affected by medications like cortisone, methyldopa, quinine, vitamin A supplements, birth control pills, and theophylline.
It is essential to give the doctor accurate information about your medical history, current condition, and any medications you are taking because these can affect your ESR levels. In order to make a more precise diagnosis, your doctor should also think about ordering additional tests.
Though ESR test is not a specific test, it is the most efficient method for identifying any abnormality in the body. Don’t ignore an elevated ESR whenever you notice it. Instead, you should make sure to undergo a thorough examination which can determine the underlying condition if any. The best thing to do is talk to the doctor and figure out how to get the ESR rate back to normal.
In case, you or your loved ones have not undergone an ESR test, make sure to get it done. After all, the earlier detection of disease, if any, may lead to more cures or longer survival. Call DLW at +1 (205) 994-8266 to set up an appointment for an ESR test, and we are here to assist you.