What is an ESR Test?

No need to worry when your doctor wants you to take a sedimentary erythrocyte rate or ESR test. It’s a routine exercise that is simple and quick. The test itself doesn’t diagnose a specific condition. Instead, it’s a test that could help the doctor verify whether there’s some inflammation occurring in any part of your body. Together with some related information or other criteria, it can lead to an accurate diagnosis. The type of ESR test will depend upon the symptoms. But one thing that the test can monitor is the presence of inflammatory diseases.

The test will involve a tall and thin tube that contains your blood sample. When standing alone, the doctor will measure the rate at which the RBCs fall to the tube’s bottom. If there is inflammation, abnormal proteins will show up in the blood. This abnormality will cause the RBCs to form clumps, causing them settle to the bottom faster.

What is the purpose of ESR test?

Doctors will usually prescribe the ESR test to find out if there’s inflammation in the body. The results, in conjunction with other tests, can help the doctor make a diagnosis of what is causing the inflammation. Usual diseases involved are cancers, infections, and autoimmune diseases.

The test can also help in monitoring inflammatory disorders. If you have symptoms like specific muscle problems, some arthritis or fever, your doctor may require an ESR test. But remember that the test by itself isn’t sufficient to present a diagnosis. It’s usually combined with other tests to determine the causes of your symptoms.

When should we undergo an ESR test?

Earlier tests or observations could already make your doctor aware that you have inflammations. Other common symptoms may also point to several types of diseases.

A doctor would prescribe an ERS test for different reasons. It helps to determine the presence of any inflammation caused by one or more conditions. To assist in the diagnosis and monitoring of specific conditions or diseases.

How does the doctor use the test?

The ESR Test is a relatively inexpensive and straightforward test which medical professionals frequently depend on. It’s a non-specific test, but its results can be beneficial for other types of tests to come up with a medical diagnosis. The test can determine the presence of inflammations associated with various diseases. The ESR test will indicate the presence of swelling. But it won’t specify the location of the inflammation. Other body conditions besides inflammations can easily influence the ESR test.

To be sure that the diagnosis will cover all angles of the patient’s symptoms, doctors use the ESR test alongside other tests. A result that’s significantly-elevated will support the doctor’s diagnosis of the patient’s disease. As mentioned earlier, the ESR is also essential in monitoring disease activities and the response to treatment of said diseases.

How does the procedure of the test go?

The procedure for the ESR test is simple and involves very minimal risk. A medical professional will draw some blood from the patient’s vein. First, they sanitize the skin, then tie an elastic band to get the vein to swell. A needle is then inserted into the vein, and then a blood sample will be drawn. Lastly, they remove the elastic band and pull the needle out.

In the case of babies, pros would collect blood differently in a method called the “heel stick collection.” First, they clean the area; then they will prick the heel of the baby with a needle to collect enough blood sample for the test. The procedure won’t cause much pain for the baby, just temporary discomfort.

What are the risks involved in taking ESR test?

The risk is very minimal for an ERS tests. However, these risks are more applicable to children. Some children may feel lightheaded or faint because of the test. Some might even develop a fear of needles. The anticipation of some pointed object entering the skin can cause some anxiety. It’s best to talk to your doctors about such issues to make the bloodletting much easier.

It’s common for a mild soreness or a slight bruise to appear around the test area, and this can persist for a couple of days. In rare cases, the discomfort can get worse or can last longer. If it happens, get some medical attention.

How to prepare for an ESR test?

Medications and drugs can easily influence the results of the test. You might have to stop taking the medication before the test temporarily.

How long would have to wait for the results of ESR test?

Waiting for the result should not take too long. But this will depend upon the laboratory doing the test. Usually, the test can be available on the day. But if they send the sample to a reference laboratory, you may have to wait a couple of days for the results.

Technicians using the traditional ESR test can read the results an hour after the start of the test. More modern methods can make the results available quicker. The newest test using centrifugal methods can have resulted in just five minutes.

What does it mean if you get abnormal results?

Abnormal ESR results don’t offer a diagnosis of any specific disease but rather is an indication of inflammation in the body. Many factors can contribute that can influence ESR results like age or medications are taken.

Abnormal ESR readings aren’t enough for a doctor to offer a diagnosis. It’s just an indication to examine further through more tests. When ESR results are either high or low, your doctor may require more tests as a follow-up.

Results of the report

Abnormal ESR results can be more serious than others, but usually, abnormal results should be no cause for concern. There are varying causes of high ESR test results. There are common conditions indicated by high rates. You can even get high results because of old age or pregnancy. Sometimes, results that are too high are also linked with autoimmune disorders or some types of infection.

A low result might be due to hypofibrinogenemia, congestive heart failure, leukocytosis, polycythemia, low plasma protein or sickle cell anemia. You don’t have to worry if you get abnormal ESR results. Speak to your doctor about what to do next.

Points to Keep in Mind

Always keep in mind that an ESR test won’t offer any diagnosis for a particular disease. It’s just an indicator of inflammation.

Medical professionals will usually suggest more lab tests in cases of abnormal results before they make any diagnosis.