What is an ESR Test?
Human blood can help to detect many things, one of them is the ESR rate of the body. But what is ESR in a blood test? ESR stands for Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate. An erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) test is commonly referred to as a sed rate. A blood test is carried out to detect nonspecific inflammation in the patients’ body. ESR test also helps in diagnosing or monitoring the progress of the inflammatory disease. The doctor may order this test when a patient is experiencing inflammation, in their red blood cells (RBCs) cling together, forming clumps. This clumping affects the rate at which RBCs sink inside a tube where a blood sample is placed. The test can help in identifying the diagnoses an illness such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, cancer, infections or any autoimmune disease. The doctor will look at the ESR results along with other information or test results to help figure out a diagnosis. The tests ordered will depend on the patient’s symptoms.
Purpose of ESR Test
A sed rate is a blood test that can display if there’s inflammation in the body as well as how severe the inflammation is. The tests can be useful when evaluating an explained fever, some types of arthritis and symptoms that can affect the muscles of the body. Besides, this test can help in confirming the diagnosis of certain conditions which includes:
- Giant cell arteritis
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Rheumatoid arthritis
A sed rate test can also help in determining the severity of the patients’ inflammatory response and monitor the effects of the treatment. This is because, a sed rate test can't pinpoint the problem that's causing inflammation in your body, and it’s usually accompanied by other blood tests, such as the C - reactive protein (CRP) test.
Risks of the ESR Test
Having blood drawn involves minimal risks. The possible difficulties can be:
- bleeding, from very light to excessive
- inflammation of the vein
One may probably feel mild to moderate pain when the needle pricks their skin. They might also feel sore at the pricked place after the test.
If the patient is uncomfortable at the sight of blood, they might also experience discomfort seeing blood drawn from their body.
Results of the ESR test
The result of the ESR test is the amount of plasma remaining at the peak of the test tube after 1 hour. The ESR test is not specific to a particular condition, which means that doctors have to use the results alongside other clinical information to make an accurate diagnosis and determine whether or not the individual has the particular disease.
The normal reference range for ESR results is 1–13 mm/hr for males and 1–20 mm/hr for females. These values can also vary depending on the person's age. Individuals with ESR results outside the standard range may have a medical condition.
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