Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is a blood test that helps to detect severity of inflammation in the body. This test actually measures the rate at which the erythrocyte (red blood cells) falls from the collected blood sample in a thin, tall, and vertical measuring tube. As the erythrocytes settle down the left over plasma (clear fluid) on the top is measured in millimeters after one hour.
Causes of High ESR:
ESR test is important test that helps to know whether patient has an underlying inflammatory disease. This test is suggested by the doctor when he suspects inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, temporal arthritis, any acute bacterial infection, autoimmune disease, monitoring of cancer, etc. In all these conditions the ESR value is high.
The pathophysiology of high ESR is that the erythrocytes (red blood cells) fall faster in the vertical thin tube by their own weight if there is inflammation in the body. Hence the plasma level on the top remains more. Normally if there is no inflammation, the erythrocytes take long time to settle down with small amount of plasma on the top at the end of one hour. The level of plasma is measured in the tube after one hour. This measurement is termed ESR. The general normal value of ESR is between 0 to 20mm/h. The reading may slightly vary. ESR more than 100 mm/h more indicates an active disease in the body.
How to Lower ESR Naturally:
Treatment of underlying cause is necessary to lower high ESR value. Actually ESR is a test that helps in detecting if there is inflammation in the body of a symptomatic person. Certain dietary changes that reduce inflammation also help to lower it. This can become an adjuvant therapy to the main line treatment with medications for the underlying disease.
- Diet: Eat foods that are high in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables. Oranges, lime, avocado, carrots, cherries, pomegranate, turmeric, figs, rosemary, tomatoes etc contain high amount of antioxidants.
- Certain foods are effective in reducing inflammation. They are foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil, fish, flaxseeds, etc are high in omega-3. Certain herbs also reduce inflammation in the body. They are turmeric, ginger, basil leaves, cayenne, garlic, etc.
- Drink enough fluid daily as it helps to flush out toxins from the body.
- Exercise is also important as it increases certain hormone that uplifts mood in a patient who is chronically ill.
- Adequate sleep for 7 to 8 hours is essential. In case of chronic illness, the symptoms worsen when patient does not get adequate sleep.