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What is a sedimentation rate?
A sedimentation rate is common blood test that is used to detect and monitor inflammation in the body. The sedimentation rate is also called the erythrocyte sedimentation rate because it is a measure of the red blood cells (erythrocytes) sedimenting in a tube over a given period of time. Sedimentation rate is often abbreviated as "sed rate" or ESR. Although this test measures a general state of inflammation, it is not specific to what causes the inflammation. It is elevated in inflammatory diseases, including arthritis as well as in autoimmune diseases such as lupus. It can also be elevated due to other conditions such as certain cancers and Grave's disease.
Why is a sedimentation rate performed?
A blood sedimentation rate is tested to detect inflammation in the body. It can also be used to follow the progress of a disease.
What specialists order a sedimentation rate?
All specialties of medicine can order this simple blood test while evaluating symptoms in order to determine whether or not there is inflammation in the body.
How is a sedimentation rate performed?
A sedimentation rate is performed by measuring the rate at which red blood cells (RBCs) settle in a test tube. The RBCs become sediment in the bottom of the test tube over time, leaving the blood serum visible above. The classic sedimentation rate is simply how far the top of the RBC layer has fallen (in millimeters) in one hour. The sedimentation rate will be higher in the presence of increased inflammation.
What is the normal range for sedimentation rate?
The normal sedimentation rate (Westergren method) for males is 0-15 millimeters per hour, females is 0-20 millimeters per hour. The sedimentation rate may normally be slightly higher in the elderly.
Quick GuideLyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments
Firestein, Gary S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2013.
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Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. Appendicitis often causes sings and symptoms such as abdominal pain in the lower right quadrant, nausea, vomiting, abdominal tenderness, fever, and loss of appetite.
Delay in surgery can result in appendix rupture with potentially serious complications.
ArthritisArthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Gout (Gouty Arthritis)Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and redness, typically of a single joint. Gout may be treated with diet and lifestyle changes, as well as medication.
HeadacheHeadaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Lyme DiseaseLyme disease is a bacterial illness, which is spread by ticks when they bite the skin. Initially the disease affects the skin causing a reddish rash associated with flu-like symptoms. It takes weeks to months after the initial redness of the skin for its effects to spread throughout the body. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Lyme disease can be prevented by using tick avoidance techniques.
Psoriatic Arthritis SlidesWhat is psoriatic arthritis? Psoriatic arthritis is an arthritis type that comes with psoriasis (skin inflammation). Psoriatic arthritis symptoms often affect hands and fingers. Learn more symptoms of psoriatic arthritis here.
Rheumatoid ArthritisRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease.
Rheumatoid FactorRheumatoid factor is commonly used as a blood test for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. However, rheumatoid factor can also be present in individuals with other conditions such as lupus, infectious hepatitis, syphilis, mononucleosis, tuberculosis, liver disease, and sarcoidosis.
Staph InfectionStaphylococcus or Staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a Staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
Stroke Symptoms and Treatment
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include
- double vision or vision loss,
- vertigo, and
- difficulty speaking or understanding speech.
A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Ulcerative ColitisUlcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Ulcerative colitis is closely related to Crohn's disease, and together they are referred to as inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment depends upon the type of ulcerative colitis diagnosed.