Blood tests for ESR or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate is a measure that is traditionally used to check for inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a response that is mounted by the body's immune system due to some kind of trigger like infection or as part of the genetic programming mistakes that can sometimes happen in the body. At many times, one would not even know that there is inflammation in the body. This is usually what happens in the case of autoimmune diseases that systematically destroy organs and important tissues, with the victim not even realizing it, until it is much too late.
ESR blood testing is called for when there is a suspicion of an inflammatory process underway in the body. The problem with the ESR test with blood is that it doesn't really state what exactly the cause of the inflammation is. For this reason, other tests need to be conducted like complete blood counts for white blood cells and lymphocytes. Another test that is generally conducted is the C-reactive protein test. ESR and CRP blood tests can generally make for a more definitive diagnosis about the presence of inflammation.
A high ESR count could mean that one is suffering from some kind of infection, an inflammation of the major arteries, lupus, or even anemia. The entire premise of the test is that during an inflammatory phase the levels of coagulant fibrinogen in the blood causes the red blood cells to clump together and fall to the bottom of a measuring tube. However, this same effect can also happen in conditions like anemia as well.
When you are diagnosed with a high ESR, which is calculated by dividing your age by 2 that will give you a value to which you add the metric mm/hr. Women should add 10 to their age and then perform the division. If your ESR is high, it means that you should also ask for a C-reactive protein test and a complete white blood cell count. ESR is only an indication that something is wrong with the body and that it requires further investigation. Ensure that your doctor has the correct equipment to perform these tests. The CRP test is something that won't be available in hospitals that are below a certain standard.