Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) is the test that provides information about the inflammatory reaction in our body. In the ESR blood test, the rate of settlement of erythrocytes (RBC) is checked. In general, the rate of settlement is slow but when we have an inflammatory reaction in our body then the rate notably increases. Inflammations are caused as a part of the response of our immune system. Several reasons like an injury or occurrence of infection can lead to such a reaction in the body. Besides, inflammations are also signs of chronic immune disorders and numerous medical conditions. Vasculitis, arthritis and inflammatory bowel syndrome are examples of diseases that occur as a consequence of inflammatory immune response.

The Necessity of ESR Blood Test

Sed tests as ESR are popularly called can be done for several reasons:

  • It can give answers to the recurrence of unexplained fever. There are times when pathological tests do not show any results that may cause fever, at such circumstances, ESR can give solutions.
  • In the case of arthritis and other joints pains, it is difficult to find the reasons behind them with regular blood tests. ESR test helps in finding such problems.
  • Many bone infections are caused due immunogenic issues. ESR test acts as a marker in such problems as well.
  • If there is an increase in the rate of erythrocyte sedimentation then there is a high possibility of the person suffering from an autoimmune disease. Such diseases are caused due to aberration in an immune response. In the case of autoimmune disorders our immune system attacks the healthy cell of our body mistakenly, this leads to the destruction of the tissues of our bodies.
  • Many vague symptoms are unexplainable. To such problems, this test may provide solutions.
  • This test also helps find various cancers cells as there is a significant rise in sed rate during the proliferation of cancer cells in our body.
  • When a person has kidney disease then there is an elevation in the sed rate.
  • Besides, anaemia and several thyroid diseases can also increase the Sed rate value.
  • When we have a very high rate of erythrocyte sedimentation, there the underlying reason might be either giant cell arteritis, allergic vasculitis or hyperfibrinogenemia.

Normal Range of ESR for Different People and Age Groups

The normal range of Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate varies among sexes and age groups. The following data shows the ranges of ESR applying the Westergren Method:

Normal Range for Adults

  • In the case of men who are under the age of 50 years, the ESR should range below 15 mm/hour.
  • On the other hand, men who age above 50 years should have an ESR ranging less than 20 mm/hour.
  • Women can have an ESR of less than 20mm/hour if they age below 50 years.
  • On contrary, women aged above 50 years should have an ESR below 30mm/hour.

Normal Range for Children

  • In the case of newborn babies, the value of ESR should be between 0 to 2 mm/hour
  • On the other hand, for children aged 1 year to children reaching puberty the range of ESR should be between 3 to 13 mm/hour.

The normal ranges may vary a little from one laboratory to another. If you get values ranging higher than the values mentioned above then you should seek help from a medical practitioner.

Precautions to Take Before ESR Blood Test

While going through an ESR test, you do not have to take much of serious precautions in general. Wear loose small-sleeved clothes for the ease of pricking your veins to take the blood sample. The result of this test is not dependent on any dietary consumption. However, if you are to take up other tests in addition to ESR then you need to fast for 10 to 12 hours.

ESR has a major role to play in understanding our immune system and its response to immunogens. It acts as a marker for several diseases including bone infections and arthritis. Regular ESR assessment can help us manage many diseases.