The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a blood test that can reveal inflammation in the body. A high ESR may indicate that there is inflammation present, but it doesn’t give any indication of where the inflammation is located or what might be causing it.
How Is the ESR Test Performed?
The ESR test is a simple one. A small sample of blood is taken from a vein in your arm and placed into a tube. The tube is then placed on a special machine that spins it very quickly. This causes the red blood cells to settle at the bottom of the tube more quickly than they would normally.
The amount of time it takes for the red blood cells to settle is called the sedimentation rate. The faster the cells settle, the higher the sedimentation rate, and this can be an indication of inflammation.
When Should You Get an ESR Test?
Your doctor may suggest an ESR test if he/she suspects there if something that is causing inflammation in the body.
- Appetite loss
- Skin or bone infections
- Joint pain
What do High ESR Results Mean?
A high ESR doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a serious health problem, but it can be a sign that something is going on. It’s important to follow up with your doctor if you have a high ESR so that further testing can be done to determine the cause. Many different conditions can cause a high ESR, including infections, autoimmune diseases, and some cancers.
What should you do to prepare for the test?
No preparation is needed for this test. You do not need to fast before the test.
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