By Cort Johnson in Health Rising.
It’s the simplest of medical tests. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or SED rate) test simply measures the rate at which the red blood cells in whole blood descend in a test tube over a period of one hour.
This non-specific measure of inflammation works because, during an inflammatory process, fibrinogen levels increase – causing red blood cells to stick to each other. When that happens, they form stacks called rouleaux which, being heavier, settle faster. So if an inflammatory process is going on you may very well have high ESR levels.
Healthline provides these criteria for ESR rates:
- Women under age 50 should have an ESR between 0 and 20 mm/hr.
- Men under age 50 should have an ESR between 0 and 15 mm/hr.
- Women over age 50 should have an ESR between 0 and 30 mm/hr.
- Men over age 50 should have an ESR between 0 and 20 mm/hr.
- Children should have an ESR between 0 and 10 mm/hr.
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