Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate
(ESR)

Alternate Names

  • Sed Rate
  • Sedimentation Rate

ESR measures the amount of time it takes for red blood cells (RBCs) to settle to the bottom of the blood sample. There are certain illnesses and diseases that increase the amount of protein in the blood, which causes RBCs to stick together, becoming heavier and falling more quickly. Protein levels can increase ESR before there are any physical signs of disease or illness, but is not specific enough to diagnose a disease. Autoimmune diseases, infections, anemia, chronic kidney disease, or cancers will increase ESR, while sickle cell anemia or low fibrinogen (clotting factor) will decrease ESR. ESR helps your doctor to diagnose illness and monitor how well treatment you are responding to treatment.

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