Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate: Diagnosis, Risk and Types

Divya Tripathi

, Health A2Z

An Erythrocyte sedimentation rate test is done to find out inflammation present in the body. It measures how red blood cells separate from the blood sample. Lab specialist measures your blood sample and finds out how quickly red blood cells settles down in the tube. If red blood cells are settling fast, it means that there is an inflammation or cell damage or maybe some disease.


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Why Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate?


Doctors recommend erythrocyte sedimentation rate only if they see symptoms for which there is a need for ESR. ESR helps to find out the disease that causes inflammation, cell damage, pain, or swelling. ESR doesn’t tell the accurate disease present in the body, it just tells that there is a disease present in the body. That is why doctors combine it with other tests to know the causes of symptoms.


ESR diagnoses can help to find out various diseases like



  • Infection


  • Autoimmune disease


  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)


  • The systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)


When to go for ESR?


You should go for ESR when you find out these symptoms.


  • Pain in shoulders, neck



  • digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, unusual abdominal pain, fever, blood in your stool


  • abnormal weight loss


 How the ESR test is done?


Before taking the ESR test, doctors recommend having breakfast or lunch depending upon the time of the test. The test is done in a very simple way. Firstly, the Lab specialist cleans the skin over the vein, and then a needle is inserted into a vein to collect blood and finally, after collecting the blood, the skin is covered by a band-aid.


After taking the blood, the lab specialist will put it in a tube, and after one hour specialist will check whether red blood cells settled down or not. If not then there is inflammation, cell damage, or swelling.


The risk involved in ESR


Taking your blood involves some risks:


  • Infection


  • Hematoma


  • Lightheadedness


  • Soreness


  • Fainting


  • Bleeding


Some people fell unconscious while watching blood drawn out of their bodies, and some feel pain when the needle is inserted in a vein.


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Different types of ESR test


There are 2 types of methods to do the ESR test.


Westergren method


In this method, the blood is drawn into the Westergren-Katz tube until the level of 200 millimeters(mm). It is kept for one hour and stored vertically to measure the distance of red blood cells from the top of the blood mixture to the top of segmentation. Most of the doctor recommend this test.


Wintrobe method


This method is almost similar to the Westergren method, except in this, the tube is 100 mm in size. This method is less sensitive compared to the other.




People who feel pain, redness on the skin, or swelling are advised to go for this test because not only this test will find out the reason for the disease, but also the presence of any other disease in the body.

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