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What are the uses and limitations of an erythrocyte sedimentation rate test for lupus?

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Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) measures the speed of red blood cells moving toward the bottom of a test tube. When inflammation is present, blood proteins stick together and fall and collect more quickly as sediment. The more quickly the blood cells fall, the greater the inflammation. ESR is used as a marker of inflammation. Inflammation could indicate lupus activity. This test could be used to monitor inflammation, which could indicate changes in disease activity or response to treatment. Keep in mind, ESR is not specific to lupus. Because there are many causes for a positive result, including infection, the test is not diagnostic for lupus. Nor can it distinguish a lupus flare from an infection. Also, the level doesn't directly correlate with lupus disease activity. So it isn't necessarily useful for monitoring disease activity.

From: Lab Tests for Lupus WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital: "Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Lupus: A Patient Care Guide for Nurses and Other Health Professionals, 3rd Edition."

Lupus Foundation of America: "Lab Tests."

NYU School of Medicine: "Neonatal Lupus."

Lupus Alliance of America: "Laboratory Tests for Lupus."

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh: "Diagnosing Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases."

Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation.

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on October 23, 2017

SOURCES:

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital: "Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Lupus)."

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Lupus: A Patient Care Guide for Nurses and Other Health Professionals, 3rd Edition."

Lupus Foundation of America: "Lab Tests."

NYU School of Medicine: "Neonatal Lupus."

Lupus Alliance of America: "Laboratory Tests for Lupus."

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh: "Diagnosing Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases."

Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation.

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on October 23, 2017

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What are the uses and limitations of a complete blood cell count for lupus?

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