ESR: blood levels in women, why increased or decreased
Any pathology or dysfunction in the body is reflected in a change in the composition of the blood. That is why a blood test is one of the first patient examinations. One of the analyzes is the biological measurement of ESR.
ESR is an indicator of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. The specific gravity of red blood cells is higher than that of plasma. If capillary or venous blood is mixed with anti-clotting drugs, after a while a maroon clot forms at the bottom of the tube.
Red blood cells have a high ability to clump, and the resulting complexes settle faster. Pathological processes in the body can affect “stickiness”, and a blood test shows deviations from the ESR norm.
ESR analysis algorithm
The reliability of the results of a biological study depends on how prepared the patient was for the procedure.
Before sampling analysis is not recommended:
Take aspirin or analgesics;
Consume dense foods high in fat or sweets;
Undergo physiotherapy, x-ray, hepatitis vaccination.
Analysis for compliance with ESR standards is carried out on an empty stomach, at least 6 hours after a meal.
In medical practice, two research options are used: the Panchenkov method and the Westergren method.
This research option is still often used in Russia, as it is easier, although not accurate enough. Capillary blood from a finger is mixed with an anticoagulant, after which the test material is placed in a special tube, on which 100 divisions are applied. An hour later, the laboratory assistant measures the amount of separated plasma. The result is recorded in millimeters.
This type of study has become more widespread around the world. Thanks to a test tube with a large number of divisions – 200, the analysis is much more accurate. In addition, blood is taken from a vein. The rest of the procedure is similar to the Panchenkov method: the use of an anticoagulant, measured after 1 hour. The result indicators are calculated in other units – mm / h.
ESR in the blood: the norm in women by age
Before the onset of the active growing phase (up to 17 years), the standard ESR values for boys and girls do not differ. In newborn babies up to a month, this parameter is very low – up to 2 mm / h. The reason for this is low protein levels. Subsequently, the parameter stabilizes.
The upper value of the norm of ESR in the blood of women aged 17 to 50 years is 12 mm / h. Further, there is an increase in the rate of formation of red blood cell complexes: 50-60 years – up to 19 mm / h, over 60 – up to 20 mm / h.
It is quite difficult for doctors and laboratory assistants to determine which ESR indicator should be considered the norm in people over 60 years of age: older people can feel good even at 45 mm / h. For calculation, not exact norms are used, but formulas.
It should be borne in mind that the norms of ESR in pregnant women are much higher. And this is not a reason to panic or conduct further examinations if all other analysis data do not inspire concern. Also, the menstrual cycle can affect the result.
Reasons for increased ESR
What exactly can be evidenced by the fact that ESR is increased? A significant deviation from the required values indicates the presence of protein compounds in the blood composition that affect the ability of red blood cells to adhere to each other. This indicates the course of the inflammatory process.
The reasons why ESR is increased:
Pathology of the genitourinary system;
Anemia and other blood diseases;
Heart attack or stroke;
Metabolic disorders – lack of absorption of nutrients from food;
Taking medications – salicylates;
The presence of malignant neoplasms.
As a result of prolonged bleeding or other injuries, the level of cholesterol in the blood rises, respectively, and the ESR indicator is increased.
Reasons for low ESR
There are several factors that can lower ESR. Red blood cells do not form complexes either due to a change in their shape, or due to changes in the qualitative composition of the blood.
This is due to various reasons:
The nature of the patient’s diet: vegetarianism, excessive fluid intake, nutritional deficiencies;
The use of certain drugs: corticosteroids, aspirin;
Cardiac pathology, blood stasis;
Dysfunction of the liver, gall bladder;
Chronic heart failure.
Regardless of what deviation from the norm the result of the ESR analysis showed: lowered or increased, this is an occasion for further diagnosis and identification of the exact causes. This biological study does not serve as a basis for establishing an unambiguous diagnosis.