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ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) is a blood test, and requires a few millilitres of blood from a vein. It is important that the tube is filled to the correct level.
An ESR is a relatively non-specific test that gives a limited idea about inflammation in the body. It is often requested for conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis), septic arthritis (infection in a joint), or Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA, a condition which may occur with Polymyalgia Rheumatica – PMR). The test may be used to follow the progression or resolution of one of these illnesses as they are treated. Occasionally, the ESR is used to try to exclude one of these conditions, when the diagnosis is not clear.
The ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) normally increases with advancing age. Generally, a high ESR indicates a higher degree of inflammation, although the ESR can be normal in the early stages of an illness. The ESR will usually fall with successful treatment or resolution of a condition, although it may lag behind the observed clinical improvement in symptoms.
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