Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) also called Sedimentation Rate, or SED rate is an important haematology test that is done to check the levels of increased inflammatory activity within the body. There can be multifactorial reasons that can cause mild to chronic body inflammation. The ESR test measures the rate at which the erythrocytes also called red blood cells settle at the bottom of the tube containing a specific blood sample. Normally, red blood cells tend to settle slowly. A faster than normal rate may indicate inflammation in the body. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate is not done for any one disease and most of the time, this test is used in combination with other tests such as the C reactive protein test to determine the presence of unwarranted inflammatory activity. It provides a deep insight into certain mild to severe conditions such as autoimmune disease, some infections or malignant tumours that could be a potent reason for swelling. 

Also Read: Avascular Necrosis/Osteonecrosis: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
Erythrocyte Sedimentation

Why Is ESR Done?

While an ESR helps determine the severity of inflammation, it also evaluates unexplained fever, muscular discomfort and various types of arthritis, besides confirming the diagnosis of certain conditions including:

  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Lupus
  • Active infection
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Collagen vascular disease
  • Anaemia
  • Infection in the bone
  • Low serum albumen
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Red blood cell abnormalities
  • Systemic vasculitis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cancer

Also Read: Symptom that will help to identify Lupus

Why do I need this test?

The physician advises this test if there are symptoms of co-related diseases that may cause ESR to go up or in case one has already been diagnosed with a disease that causes a high ESR. ESR is conducted at repetitive intervals as it allows the healthcare provider to see the response of an individual towards the treatment. ESR is very useful for diagnosing or monitoring diseases that cause pain and inflammation. While most symptoms may include fever and weight loss. There are chances that ESR might have gone up in normal cases as well.

How To Prepare For ESR?

The SED or ESR rate is a normal blood test. There is no need to fast or stay empty stomach before giving the blood sample. The health care provider will use a needle to draw blood from a vein in your arm. After blood collection, the patient can resume normal activities.

What To Expect?

A simple and effective way to get an insight into related ailments and co-morbidities, ESR has been titled a sickness indicator. While this diagnostic tool, cannot help the doctor diagnose or monitor the progress of the inflammatory disease, it certainly reveals the inflammatory activity inside the body. RBCs typically fall at a faster rate in people with inflammatory conditions such as infections, cancer, or autoimmune conditions. These conditions lead to an increase in the number of proteins in the blood. This increase in proteins causes RBCs to stick together and it causes the cells to clump. Because these clumped cells are denser than individual cells, they settle to the bottom more quickly. If you have a condition that causes inflammation or cell damage, your red blood cells tend to clump together. The faster your red blood cells settle and fall, the higher your ESR. 

ESR Results

Results from the ESR rate test are reported in the distance in millimetres that red blood cells have descended in an hour. Though results may vary depending on your age, gender, medical history and various other factors. The normal values are as follows:

  • 0 to 10 mm/h in children
  • 0 to 15 mm/h in men younger than 50
  • 0 to 20 mm/h in men older than 50
  • 0 to 20 mm/h in women younger than 50
  • 0 to 30 mm/h in women older than 50


Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate also called Sedimentation Rate, SED rate or ESR is the diagnostic test done to check the levels of an increase in inflammatory activity in the body. The ESR checks the rate at which RBCsBC settle at the bottom of the sample tube. The farther the red blood cells have descended, the greater the inflammatory response of your immune system. A high ESR tells the healthcare provider about an active disease process in the body. The ESR is typically higher in females than in males and increases gradually with age. A result higher than the usual range is not necessarily a cause for concern. While an elevated ESR level can be a potential indicator of underlying illnesses, slightly higher levels can occur due to laboratory errors, pregnancy, menstruation, or advancing age. Individuals with elevated ESR values may or may not have a medical condition that requires treatment. Several conditions can affect the properties of blood, thereby affecting how quickly red blood cells sink in a sample of blood.