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.
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.
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