What is an ESR blood test?
ESR blood test, or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate blood test, is a type of blood testing to check if there is an ongoing inflammatory activity inside the body. This type of test is classified as “non-specific” because it provides inflammatory indications but will not pinpoint the exact location on where the actual inflammation is. ESR blood tests may be used to detect both acute and chronic types of inflammation including those present in common infections, malignancies, and several auto-immune disorders of the body including various types of arthritic conditions.
When a doctor suspects that there is an ongoing inflammation in some parts of the body, he/she typically prescribes an ESR blood test to be done. This is especially true for patients that develop various symptoms that may point to some illness in some part of the body. Symptoms like: headaches, body pains, stiffness in the joints, and weight loss, for example, are just some of the conditions that make doctors suggest to patients that an ESR blood test should be done.
ESR tests are commonly prescribed to help doctors diagnose auto-immune disorders such as common rheumatoid arthritis. In this type of arthritis, the joints are predominantly affected causing inflammation in the synovial lining. This inflammatory change will then cause pain, swelling, and stiffness. Patients with this type of arthritis may also complain about movement difficulties. If all these symptoms are present more often than not, an ESR blood test will be prescribed by the doctor. The results of this particular test will also indicate an elevated or increased ESR. Whenever there is an increased or higher-than-normal ESR, some kind of ailment is almost expected. Aside from illnesses, though, ESR levels may be elevated by other conditions such as pregnancy and menstrual periods. Some drugs like vitamins and contraceptives may also cause ESR results to be higher versus normal levels or standards.
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