Sedimentation Rate Overview
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 speed that the red blood cells (erythrocytes) in a tube of blood fall to the bottom of the tube, or sediment. Sedimentation rate is often abbreviated as sed rate or ESR.
Doctors use the sedimentation rate to help to determine if inflammation is present in the patient. Additionally, the sedimentation rate can be a convenient method of monitoring the progress of treatment of diseases that are characterized by inflammation. Accordingly, a high sedimentation rate would correlate with more disease activity while a low sedimentation rate would suggest that the disease is less active.
Examples of diseases that are commonly monitored with the sedimentation rate test include:
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