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ESR stands for erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The ESR is an easy, inexpensive, nonspecific test that has been used for many years to help diagnose conditions associated with acute and chronic inflammation, including infections, cancers, and autoimmune diseases. ESR is said to be nonspecific because increases do not tell the doctor exactly where the inflammation is in your body or what is causing it, and also because it can be affected by other conditions besides inflammation. For this reason, ESR is typically used in conjunction with other tests.
ESR is helpful in diagnosing two specific inflammatory diseases, temporal arteritis and polymyalgia rheumatica. A high ESR is one of the main test results used to support the diagnosis. It is also used to monitor disease activity and response to therapy in both of these diseases.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.