Sed Rate (aka ESR aka Erythocyte Sedimentatio)

The ESR is really a pretty strange test. Your red blood cells are placed in a tube of saline or plasma. Then they measure how fast these cells settle in the bottom of the tube. Somehow, I am not getting into the science behind this one, this indicates how much inflammation is present in your body.

Inflammation is usually present in inflammatory arthritis, but it is also present in literally thousands of other conditions. Sometimes, the common cold can cause some inflammation.

Most medical resources about arthritis claim that the sed rate is a fairly accurate indicator of disease activity in established inflammatory arthritis. Well, here is where the Insight part of Arthritis Insight comes into the picture! Most of us with inflammatory arthritis know that this is simply not true. We’ve had high sed rates with little or know swelling noted and we were feeling fine. And we’ve also had low or normal sed rates in the midst of a terrible flare. This is why it is so important that your doctor does not base treatment on test results alone. Your symptoms need to be considered!

Type of Test: Blood Test

What the Results Mean:

Normal Values:
Men: up to 15mm/hr
Women: up to 20mm/hr
Kids: up t0 10mm/hr
Seniors: up to

A normal reading suggests the is no inflammation while an elevated result indicates that there is some type of inflammation going on somewhere in the body.


Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests by Kathleen Deska Pagana, Timothy James Pagana.
Everything You Need to Know About Medical Tests