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ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) is a non-specific inflammation marker. It measures the rate at which red blood cells fall to the bottom of a tube. The blood cells fall quicker during inflammation, as there are more proteins in the blood, caused by the inflammation. It is said to be nonspecific because increases do not indicate exactly where the inflammation in your body is, or what is causing it, and also because it can be affected by other conditions other than inflammation.

What might a high result mean?

Elevated ESR scores indicate that there is inflammation ongoing in the body. This could suggest a wide range of causes, including infection and autoimmune disease, but also pregnancy and anaemia.

Significantly elevated ESR scores can allude to more sinister conditions, for example, in patients with multiple myeloma.