+1-888-360-0001 8:00AM to 6:00PM EST
For Physicians
February 23, 2023 | Abigail Mckay

What does high ESR mean?

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a measure of how quickly erythrocytes, or red blood cells, fall to the bottom of a test tube. The sedimentation rate is used as a nonspecific measure of inflammation and is sometimes called a nonspecific inflammatory marker. The normal reference range for the ESR test is different for men and women. For men, the normal range is 0-15 millimeters per hour (mm/h), while for women, it is 0-20 mm/h. A high ESR usually indicates the presence of inflammation in the body but can also be seen with certain anemias and malignancies. If you have a high ESR, your doctor will likely order additional tests to help determine the cause, as an ESR test alone cannot diagnose a specific condition, as many factors can affect the results.  Keep reading to learn more about what causes high ESR levels and what your treatment options are.

ESR, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate, is a simple but important blood test for assessing overall health.

High ESR levels may indicate infection, inflammation, or other serious medical conditions. Low levels of ESR do not necessarily mean good health and can be related to issues like kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, bone marrow disorder, and other genetic diseases. For this reason, it is recommended that people use this test as part of their regular check-ups with their doctor to keep track of their overall health. A comprehensive blog post about ESR can help individuals understand what high or low levels of ESR indicate and how they can take appropriate action if either one is found in their results.

A high ESR usually indicates inflammation somewhere in the body.

A high ESR reading is generally a sign that something is wrong in the body. It usually indicates inflammation due to an underlying condition, often caused by chronic illnesses, diseases, or infections. While some other conditions can contribute to a high ESR, it is typically viewed as something that should be addressed by finding the cause and beginning treatment. Therefore, medical professionals will likely test for other indications of illness based on the type of inflammation observed and seek to address the underlying issue before treating the inflammation related to an elevated ESR.

Inflammation can be caused by infection, injury, or disease.

Inflammation is a term used to describe the body’s natural response when trying to manage infection, injury, or disease. The body increases its production of white blood cells, which are responsible for combating and removing any threat. This process turns into a noticeable reaction which can be recognized as redness, swelling, warmth, and pain around the site. Inflammation is both beneficial to naturally eliminate harm and potentially damaging if persistent and untreated over time. It can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, deterioration in health status, or even additional medical conditions associated with chronic inflammation. Understanding ESR levels can provide insight into the levels of inflammation present in the body when under particular distress.

A high ESR can also be caused by pregnancy, certain medications, or obesity.

A high Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) can also be caused by other factors like pregnancy, certain medications, or even obesity. In this blog post, we’ll discuss these non-inflammatory causes of a high ESR and what they may indicate. We’ll also discuss how to interpret the underlying benefits and risks associated with a higher ESR in patients who are pregnant or obese and discuss which medications can cause a rise in ESR levels. Finally, we will explore potential management strategies when trying to lower ESR in these scenarios.

Can some foods cause false elevated ESR?

False elevated ESR levels can be caused by various dietary intake issues, including an imbalanced diet or the consumption of specific foods. For example, refined carbohydrates, fired and processed foods, and certain meats containing high saturated fats may cause a false elevated reading in ESR tests. It is important to note that while certain foods are known to affect ESR readings, they should not be eliminated from the diet entirely. Individuals must maintain a balanced diet to ensure all nutrients are obtained for optimal health. If you suspect your diet may be causing false readings in ESR tests, it is recommended that you consult with a doctor or nutritionist to determine alternative dietary options.

When to see a doctor?

High levels of ESR in the blood can signal an ongoing inflammatory process, so it is important to take note of any abnormally high levels and see a doctor if they persist or become more extreme. High ESR levels often indicate other underlying medical issues, such as nutritional deficiencies and autoimmune diseases. Even greater concern should be given if high ESR readings accompany other unusual signs, such as fever, weakness, chest pain, or rash. It’s always wise to consult with a skilled healthcare practitioner to get to the root of any high ESR test results.

To wrap up, the causes of a high ESR can range from pregnancy and obesity to injury and infection. If you have a high ESR, your doctor will order additional tests to determine the cause of the inflammation. The course of treatment for a high ESR depends on the underlying problem and may involve lifestyle changes or medication. Although understanding the result of an ESR test is important in recognizing potential health concerns, it is always best to consult with your physician to identify any underlying issues and get appropriate treatment and advice. Start your journey to living healthier today by talking to a Cura4U physician about any medical concerns you might have.



Recommended Tests

Recommended physicians

Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.