Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is an indicator that is still important for the diagnosis of the organism. The definition of ESR is actively used for the diagnosis of adults and children. Such an analysis is recommended to take once a year, and in old age - once every six months.
An increase or decrease in the number of bodies in the blood (erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets, etc.) is an indicator of certain diseases or inflammatory processes. Especially often diseases are determined if the level of the measured components is elevated.
In this article, we will look at why ESR is increased in a blood test, and what does this mean in each case in women or men.
ESR - what is it?
ESR - erythrocyte sedimentation rate, red blood cells, which under the influence of anticoagulants for some time settle at the bottom of the medical tube or capillary.
The settling time is estimated by the height of the plasma layer obtained as a result of the analysis, estimated in millimeters for 1 hour. ESR has a high sensitivity, although it refers to non-specific indicators.
What does it mean? A change in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate may indicate the development of a particular pathology of a different nature, moreover, even before the onset of obvious symptoms of the disease.
Using this analysis, you can diagnose:
- The reaction of the body to the prescribed treatment. For example, for tuberculosis, lupus erythematosus, inflammation of the connective tissue (rheumatoid arthritis) or Hodgkin's lymphoma (lymphogranulomatosis).
- Accurately differentiate the diagnosis: heart attack, acute appendicitis, signs of ectopic pregnancy or osteoarthritis.
- To ascertain the hidden forms of the disease in the human body.
If the analysis is normal, it is still necessary to prescribe additional tests and tests, since the normal level of ESR does not exclude a serious disease or the presence of malignant tumors in the human body.
The norm for men is 1-10 mm / h, for women on average - 3-15mm / h. After 50 years, this indicator is able to increase. During pregnancy, sometimes the rate can reach 25 mm / h. These figures are due to the fact that a pregnant woman has anemia and her blood thinners. In children, depending on age - 0-2 mm / h (for newborns), 12-17 mm / h (up to 6 months).
Increasing, as well as reducing the sedimentation rate of red cells for people of different ages and sex depends on many factors. In the course of life, the human body is exposed to various infectious and viral diseases, which is why an increase in the number of white blood cells, antibodies, and red blood cells is noticed.
Why ESR in the blood is higher than normal: causes
So, because of what an increased ESR is detected in the blood test, and what does this mean? The most common cause of high ESR is the development of inflammatory processes in organs and tissues, which is why many perceive this reaction as specific.
In general, the following groups of diseases can be distinguished in which the rate of sedimentation of red blood cells increases:
- Infections. A high rate of ESR accompanies almost all bacterial infections of the respiratory tract and urogenital system, as well as other sites. This is usually due to leukocytosis, which affects the aggregation features. If leukocytes are normal, then it is necessary to exclude other diseases. In the case of the presence of symptoms of infection, it is likely to be viral or fungal in nature.
- Diseases in which there is not only an inflammatory process, but also disintegration (necrosis) of tissues, blood corpuscles and the entry of degradation products of proteins into the bloodstream: purulent and septic diseases; malignant neoplasms; myocardial infarction, lung, brain, intestine, pulmonary tuberculosis, etc.
- Very much ESR rises and persists for a long time at a high level in case of autoimmune diseases. These include various vasculitis, thrombocytopenic purpura, lupus erythematosus, rheumatic and rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma. Such a reaction indicator is associated with the fact that all these diseases so alter the properties of blood plasma, that it is oversaturated with immune complexes, making the blood inadequate.
- Kidney disease. Of course, with the inflammatory process that affects the renal parenchyma, the ESR value will be higher than normal. However, quite often the increase in the described indicator occurs due to a decrease in the blood level of protein, which in high concentration goes into the urine due to damage to the renal vessels.
- Metabolism and endocrine pathologies - thyrotoxicosis, hypothyroidism, diabetes.
- Malignant bone marrow degeneration, in which red blood cells enter the blood, not being ready to perform their functions.
- Hemoblastosis (leukemia, lymphogranulomatosis, etc.) and paraproteinemic hemoblastosis (myeloma, Waldenstrom's disease).
These causes are most common with a high level of erythrocyte sedimentation rate. In addition, when passing the analysis must comply with all rules of the test. If a person has even a minor cold, the rate will be increased.
Women due to hormonal and physiological changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and menopause are more often subjected to qualitative and quantitative changes in the content of dry residues in the blood. These causes can cause increased ESR in the blood of women up to 20-25 mm / h.
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons when the ESR is higher than the norm, and it is problematic to understand what this means by just one analysis. Therefore, the assessment of this indicator can only be trusted to a truly knowledgeable specialist. It is not worth doing things on your own that cannot be determined with certainty.
Physiological causes of increased ESR
Many people know that an increase in this indicator, as a rule, indicates a kind of inflammatory reaction. But this is not the golden rule. If elevated ESR is detected in the blood, the causes can be quite safe and do not require any treatment:
- dense meal before delivery of the analysis;
- fasting, strict diet;
- menstruation, pregnancy and the postpartum period in women;
- allergic reactions in which the fluctuations of the initially increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- allow you to judge the correct allergy therapy - if the drug is valid, then the rate will gradually decrease.
Undoubtedly, only by the deviation of one indicator from the norm it is very difficult to determine what this means. This will help to understand an experienced doctor and additional examination.
Increase above 100 mm / h
The indicator exceeds the level of 100 m / h in acute infectious processes:
- Viral hepatitis;
- Fungal infection;
- Malignant tumors.
A significant increase in the rate does not occur simultaneously, ESR grows 2-3 days before it reaches a level of 100 mm / h.
False ESR elevation
In some situations, changes in indicators do not indicate a pathological process, some chronic conditions. ESR levels may increase with obesity, acute inflammatory process. Also, false changes in ESR indicators are observed:
- With elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood.
- Due to the use of oral contraceptives.
- Subsequently, hepatitis B vaccination.
- With long-term intake of vitamins, which include a large amount of vitamin A.
Medical studies show that ESR can often increase for no reason. Doctors explain such changes by hormonal disruptions.
Increased ESR in a child: causes
Increased soy in the blood of a child is most often caused by causes of an inflammatory nature. You can also highlight the following factors leading to an increase in erythrocyte sedimentation rate in children:
- metabolic disease;
- acute poisoning;
- autoimmune diseases;
- stressful condition;
- allergic reactions;
- the presence of worms or sluggish infectious diseases.
In a child, an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate may be observed in the case of teething, an unbalanced diet, or a lack of vitamins. If children complain of indisposition, then you should consult a doctor and conduct a comprehensive examination, the doctor will determine why the ESR analysis is increased, after which the only correct treatment will be prescribed.
What to do
Prescribing treatment with an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate in the blood is inappropriate, since this indicator is not a disease.
Therefore, in order to make sure that there are no pathologies in the human body (or, on the contrary, they do occur), it is necessary to schedule a comprehensive examination, which will answer this question.