SED RATE DEFINITIONThe sed rate (also known as SR, ESR, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate) is a blood test that detects inflammatory activity inside your body. It works by placing blood inside a tall, thin tube. Erythrocytes (red blood cells) typically settle to the bottom. If you're suffering from inflammation, the cells will clump together and settle more quickly.
SED RATE PURPOSEThe sed rate measures the distance erythrocytes fall in a test tube in an hour. It's also used more often in the past than at present because more accurate measures of testing inflammatory activity are now available. It's often used nowadays to test for rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and giant cell arteritis.
SED RATE RISKSBlood drawing risks are slight and rare. They include hemorrhaging, infection, and lightheadedness. The one administrating the test may also have difficulty locating a big enough vein because veins vary in size from one side of the body to the other and from person to person.
SED RATE PREPARATION REQUIREDThe sed rate test requires no preparations. You don't need to fast prior to taking it, so you can eat and drink normally before the test. However, the accuracy of the test may be affected if you're pregnant. Anemia, heart disease, and diabetes can also skew results. Tell your doctor about these complicating factors before taking the test.
SED RATE PROCEDUREA vein in your arm will be penetrated with a needle handled by the doctor's nurse or medical assistant in order to draw blood from it. This blood sample will then be sent to a lab so that its sed rate could be measured. You can return to your activities after the test.
SED RATE COMPLICATIONSThe typical (rare) complications you can experience from having your blood drawn includes excessive bleeding, fainting, lightheadedness, hematoma (blood accumulating under your skin), and infection (a normal risk that can happen anytime the skin is penetrated).
SED RATE SIDE EFFECTS RATESExpect some temporary pain, discomfort, and tenderness from the site where your blood was drawn. Otherwise, there are few to no side effects from undergoing a sed rate test.
SED RATE RESULTSThe results of your test will be measured in the distance (in millimeters) the erythrocytes have descended within a given hour. For men, the normal range is 0 to 22 mm/hr, while women can go from 0 to 29 mm/hr. Take note that the normal sed rate's upper threshold value may differ somewhat from one clinic to another.