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Elevated ESR in the blood, what does this mean?

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a non-specific reaction, a single functional indicator that reflects the intensity of the inflammatory or autoimmune process in the human body.

This simple, cheap and popular laboratory test, presented in a general analysis, allows us to estimate the rate of blood separation into a liquid transparent part (plasma) and red blood cells.

In medical practice, the phenomenon of erythrocyte sedimentation was already known in the Middle Ages, when the bloodletting method was widely used. When performing this procedure, doctors noticed that the released blood stratified over time into two parts. The test began to be applied in practice more than 100 years ago, still withstanding the test of time.


Methods for determining ESR

Methods for determining ESR

In 1924, TP Panchenkov proposed micromethod for the determination of ESR. Its essence is as follows. Blood is collected in a glass graduated 100 divisions tubule (Panchenkov capillary) with an inner diameter of 1 mm.

Next, the blood is thoroughly mixed with anticoagulant - 5% sodium citrate solution, the capillary is installed strictly vertically in a special tripod. Gradually, the erythrocytes descend under the action of gravity, and the plasma remains in the upper part of the pipette. ESR account for an hour later on the height of the transparent column.

To determine the ESR using the method of Westergren, which is recognized as a reference, it is used in most laboratories abroad. For the study, venous blood and a capillary tube 200 mm long with a clearance of 2.4-2.5 mm are taken. The sensitivity of this method is higher.

The results in the field of normal ESR values ​​approximately coincide with the results obtained in determining the index by the Panchenkov method.

The described methods have a number of drawbacks; therefore, automatic analyzers have been introduced into practice, which make it possible to repeatedly measure the optical density of the test sample.

What does elevated ESR in the blood mean?

What does elevated ESR in the blood mean? In certain physiological processes and various pathological conditions, erythrocyte sedimentation can occur faster than normal. As a result, the analysis will show increased ESR in the blood, but what does this mean and why is it happening?

This is due to a change in the normal ratio between plasma fine albumin and coarse globulins and fibrinogen in favor of the latter. Suspension suspension decreases, and this is provoked by the increase in erythrocyte sedimentation.

Fibrinogen and globulins with a positive charge are collected on the surface of erythrocytes, which have a negative charge. As a result, the mutual repulsion force is weakened, and the resulting agglomerates sink to the bottom faster. The larger they are, the faster the reaction.

Most often, an increase in ESR reflects the inflammatory process in the body.

Blood ESR Norm in Women and Men Table

Normal ESR in the blood of adults varies from 1-15 mm / hour. In women, this figure is in the range of 2-15 mm / hour, in the male, it varies from 1-10 mm / hour.

In newborns, ESR usually does not exceed 2 mm / hour, which is associated with high hematocrit, low blood levels of proteins and globulins in particular.

Normally, children are characterized by a reduced erythrocyte sedimentation rate (1–8 mm / h) in comparison with adults. Middle-aged people have slightly lower rates than older ones.

Table ESR regarding age and gender

Gender and age range ESR mm / h
Newborns 0-2
Women under 60 years old 2-10
after 60 years up to 20 (30)
Men under 60 years old to 10
after 60 years up to 15 (20)

The rate of ESR for the age category after 70 years is practically absent, since at this age it is difficult to find completely healthy people to determine normal digital values.

Causes of increased ESR in a child

The indicator of ESR in the blood of a child can be increased for many reasons, and some of them are not a cause for strong experiences. One of the factors causing its increase in children is teething. An abundance of fatty foods in the mother’s diet during breastfeeding can affect.

Taking certain medications, helminthiasis, an allergic reaction to something, lack of vitamins - all this can change the ESR in a big way.

Pathological processes also cause a deviation from the norm, but at the same time a certain symptomatology is observed, as well as a change in other indicators in the general blood test.

Causes of increased blood ESR in adults

Increased ESR in the blood of an adult occurs as a result of both physiological and pathological causes. The fluctuation of the value is possible even during the day and the maximum level is noted in the daytime. The physiological reasons include: pregnancy, menstruation, short-term hypothermia, overheating, old age, gender.

The rate of ESR in the blood of women is elevated when compared with that of men. To some extent, this is due to the smaller number of red blood cells in the blood, a high content of fibrinogen and globulins.

Pathological reasons for increasing the erythrocyte sedimentation rate include:

  • acute inflammatory and infectious processes;
  • immune disorders;
  • oncological diseases;
  • anemia;
  • kidney and liver disease;
  • inflammatory bowel disease;
  • conditions after surgery;
  • chemical poisoning;
  • heart attacks (heart, kidney, lung);
  • endocrine pathology ( diabetes mellitus );
  • intoxication;
  • injuries.

When making a diagnosis, it is necessary to compare this value with other indicators of the overall analysis. Often with high ESR in the blood, elevated and C-reactive protein. In modern medicine it is a more significant marker of the inflammatory process in the body. After an infectious disease for a long time, not only increased ESR, but also platelets in the blood can be observed.

Pathological elevation of ESR does not always indicate a disease. A small percentage of individuals show abnormal ESR, in the absence of disease.

Taking oral contraceptives and vitamin A may also affect the outcome. In some cases a laboratory error is possible, therefore, if overestimated figures, the sedimentation rate should be re-determined.

ESR in the blood during pregnancy

ESR in the blood during pregnancy

When pregnancy ESR in the blood rises. By the third trimester, the index increases about three times and can reach a limit of about 45 mm / h. That is, the higher the duration of pregnancy, the higher the ESR.

Such changes in the female body are genetically programmed and are adaptive in nature, and the degree of their severity depends on the number of fetuses, gestational age, individual reserve abilities of the mother. Even after giving birth within a month, the sedimentation rate often remains high and this is considered normal.

Against the background of a normal pregnancy, the range of ESR changes varies considerably according to various authors. The increase in the index does not depend on the sex of the fetus, but in mothers of girls the numbers are somewhat higher.

Treatment with elevated ESR in the blood

ESR is not a specific diagnostic parameter for specific diseases, therefore, in order to prescribe a patient the patient must be carefully examined. The treatment process depends on what causes the abnormality.

To reduce the ESR, you need to eliminate inflammation and cure a certain disease. Decide on the need for treatment can only be a doctor.

Thus, the ESR depends on the protein fractions and displays a change in the protein composition of the blood, so an increase should be expected in all conditions accompanied by an inflammatory process, immune disorders.


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