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What is ESR in blood

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

ESR stands for erythrocyte sedimentation rate, also known as erythrocyte sedimentation rate or erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Beyond the different names by which it is known, the critical thing is that it is a diagnostic test widely used in medicine.

This test measures the rate at which red blood cells or erythrocytes sediment. A sample of blood plasma must be extracted from the patient in order, previously treated at the chemical level, to observe how the cells fall in a certain period. But what is ESR in blood? What is it used for? What does a high sedimentation rate mean? How does it affect the health of the patient? In the following FastlyHealarticle, we clear up all these doubts.

What is the sedimentation rate in blood tests?

In hematology, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate is the precipitation of red blood cells in a certain period, usually between 1 and 2 hours. Since this depends on the rate at which red blood cells accumulate, which depends on their attractiveness, ESR is related to the tendency of red blood cells to get and the concentration of proteins.

Generally, ESR tests are not done independently but are part of an in-depth study of the blood. Specifically, ESR is used to evaluate the following parameters:

  • To detect both infections and inflammations in some areas of ​​the body.
  • To assess the evolution of diseases of a chronic or infectious nature.
  • For the diagnosis of tumors or inflammatory processes that cannot be detected by other means.

ESR: normal values

If everything works typically, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate is practically 0. If the person has high cholesterol, the ESR can even lower more. On the other hand, it must be said that it is impossible to give a common reference value. This is because the factors that influence ESR are multiple, including sex, age, method of use, and even the importance ​​given by each laboratory. Similarly, the interpretation of your results should also be made by comparing them with other hemogram results.

Here are the normal values ​​depending on age, always taking into account what we have stated above:

  • Newborns: up to 2 mm / h
  • Infant children: up to 10 mm / h
  • Non-lactating children: up to 11 mm / h
  • Young boys: up to 10mm / h
  • Young women: up to 10 mm / h
  • Adult males: up to 12 mm / h
  • Adult women: up to 19 mm / h
  • Older men: up to 14 mm / h
  • Older women: up to 20 mm / h

As we can see, women tend to have higher ESR values ​​than men. This is mainly due to conditions such as pregnancy or menstruation increasing its levels. Be that as it may, if the ESR value is badly high than 100 mm/hour, it is possible to think of a carcinogenic process, infectious diseases, or rheumatic diseases.

High ESR: causes

As we have said previously, the sedimentation rate is a very imprecise result when diagnosing the cause that originates it. When ESR rises, it can be for many reasons. In a broad sense, it informs us that when the blood was drawn from the body, there was some infectious or inflammatory process in some body area. However, we cannot know where or why it occurs.

That is why the slightest disturbances in a healthy body can result in a higher sedimentation rate than usual. Beyond this, the alterations that can cause its increase are so varied, from a simple blow to cancer, that its results are very diffuse unless accompanied by the entire analytical context, a physical examination, and the study depth of the patient’s medical history.

Here is a list of the different conditions that can cause an increase in the sedimentation rate of erythrocytes:

Low ESR: causes

Conversely, low ESR can be the result of any of the following conditions and diseases:

  • Kidney or liver disorders that lower plasma proteins.
  • Afibrinogenemia, or what is the same, is the decrease in fibrinogen levels.
  • Cardiac failure.
  • Polycythemia vera.

Sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein

As we have explained about sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein is also a marker for inflammation. However, unlike ESR, CRP does not appear or disappear as quickly; it is not affected by as many factors as ESR. Consequently, C-reactive protein is a more valid indicator for evaluating inflammation. ESR is still used much more today because it is a much easier test to perform.

In the following FastlyHealarticle, we talk about the causes of high C-reactive protein.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to What ESR is in blood, we recommend that you enter our category Blood, heart, and circulation .

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