High sed rates can be associated with inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, and cancer.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
This test can also be purchased as part of our Autoimmune panel.
PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.
What does this test do?
This test determines how long it takes red blood cells (erythrocytes) to fall to the bottom of a test tube filled with plasma.
Why is this important?
When inflammation is present, large amounts of proteins are produced and circulate in the bloodstream. In general, the greater the inflammatory process, the higher the concentration of these large molecules, which causes the blood to become more viscous (or thicker).
An indirect way of measuring the viscosity of the blood is by measuring the effects of gravity on red blood cells suspended in a test tube of plasma. To use some extreme examples, compare this idea to dropping a marble into a tall glass of water, vs a tall glass filled with jelly. In the water the marble will drop straight to the bottom, whereas it will take significantly longer when dropped into the jelly.
Of course, red blood cells are much smaller and lighter than marbles, and the thickness of blood could never be compared to that of jelly, but the same principle is used in the Sed Rate test. The higher the concentration of inflammatory proteins in the blood, the longer it will take red blood cells to “fall” to the bottom of a test tube, and the higher the Sed Rate value will be.
What do the results mean?
In healthy states the Sed Rate should be within the normal reference range. Longer times are commonly seen in inflammatory conditions such as autoimmune disorders and certain cancers such as lymphoma or multiple myeloma.
Given the lack of an elevated Sed rate’s ability to point to a specific disease however, to be helpful in diagnosis this test is best used in combination with a physician’s evaluation of signs and symptoms. The Sed rate can also be measured at routine intervals to assist in monitoring the progress of known autoimmune or other inflammatory diseases.