Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR)

ESR or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate is a blood test which helps to detect the presence of inflammation caused by one or more conditions such as infections, tumors or autoimmune diseases; to help diagnose and monitor specific conditions such as temporal arteritis, systemic vasculitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a blood test. It measures how quickly erythrocytes, or red blood cells, separate from a blood sample that has been treated so the blood will not clot. During this test, a small amount of your blood will be put in an upright tube. A lab specialist will measure the rate that your red blood cells settle toward the bottom of the tube after 1 hour.

If you have a condition that causes inflammation or cell damage, your red blood cells tend to clump together. This makes them heavier, so they settle faster. The faster your red blood cells settle and fall, the higher your ESR. A high ESR tells your healthcare provider that you may have an active disease process in your body. 

Many things that are not active diseases can increase your ESR. These include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Old age
  • Being female
  • Having a menstrual period
  • Having recently eaten a fatty meal
  • Being obese
  • Taking certain medicines

Your doctor might order the sed rate or ESR test if you have symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Stiff joints
  • Pain in your shoulders, neck, or pelvis
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss without trying

The sed rate test can be part of the process of discovering if you have one of these conditions:


  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Giant cell arteritis (swelling in the lining of your blood vessels)
  • Lupus (an autoimmune disease that damages the skin, joints, and other parts of your body)
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica (causes stiff and painful muscles)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks your joints)
  • Systematic vasculitis (inflammation in your blood vessels)
  • Temporal arteritis (inflammation of blood vessels in your head, most often the artery that runs under the scalp on the side of the forehead)

You might also get this test once you've started treatment for one of these conditions. The ESR can help your doctor see how well your body is responding to treatment.

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. For further information about these lab tests contact Symbion VIP Diagnostics pathology lab Ahmedabad at 09429410291