High ESR reading

Hi - I know ESR indicates how active RA is but when it's unusually high can it point to something else wrong? E.g. if you have a cold, sore throat, swollen glands, tendonitis etc. would that affect it? Could something esle nasty be going on? Seeing my RA consultant on 2 April so will ask her but anyone else have any ideas?

(Sometimes I dont see the Cons., just the registrar and feel rushed for time, so any feedback from my peers will be welcome!)


8 Replies

Hi Lynn. What is your high ESR reading I wonder? They are measured according to your age and gender and your previous readings so for one person a raised reading might be 30 but for another it may not read as high until it is over 60 -or so I'm told. If it's high for you or well above anything normal then it could mean you've been fighting a virus or have been ill in some way. My GP told me this when mine was raised this week and a month ago and she asked me if I'd had any colds or sore throats or anything because that could account for a higher than normal ESR - if not then it looks more likely that it is because of disease activity re RA but there are many things, including stress that can elevate an ESR reading. Tilda x


Thanks Tilda, you made me feel better!!!

I went this morning and the reading was 54 (from blood taken 20th Feb.) and i did have swollen glands, sore throat and something puffing my face up a bit - all around that time, so I thought that may be it.

I have had readings in high 20's but lately they've been in 40's but have had loads of stress and achilles inflamed for 5 months.

a consultant told me once that as long as I feel okay, don't worry - if it's very high for more than a few readings in a row, she would look into it more.

I suspect stress has a lot to do with it as we've had several bereavements, sickness and then me with the achilles "itis" that left me immobile for months - I love my walks so that stressed me out!

Will let you know how I get on after my visit with her on Monday.

Again, thanks, it does help to have this website, everyone is so supportive and puts me at ease a bit to "bounce off" someone!

Hope you are doing okay.



Glad I helped you a bit Lynn. My readings have been high lately same as yours but I'm putting it down to stress as well. 20th Feb is a while ago - it may have changed now? My first one was 60 last year and the most recent one was 42 about 10 days ago but it's been down as low as 26 in between. I know that someone on NRAS recently told me that sometimes people with a lot of pain and visible swelling have low ESR readings but when they are given an ultrasound inflammation shows even if it isn't revealed in their blood readings so it's not always a sign of active RA at all it's just one of many indicators that help a rheumy to make a judgement of disease activity. TTx


Hi - following on from this, I took my MTX last night and today I am having the nausea (quite usual for me) and the depression is hitting me today - feel like weeping all day!! I know its something you've addressed. Don't always feel like this, comes and goes, but normally have a bit of nausea every Friday, feeling down and weepy - well a bit off and on, not all the time thank goodness.

Was going on one of my 90 min. country walks today but decided not to as I feel tired, fed up and have other things to do, so taking it easy today and indulging a bit in feel sorry for myself!!! I'm on an Open Uni course so will do some of that to keep my mind busy.

Hope you are doing okay and I do appreciate your informative replies.



I think raised white cell count also shows you have infection. Dont ask me what they are... C


Hi Cathie - yes, a high white cell count indicates some kind of infection, but all my readings are okay (well, stable!) just high ESR so will run it by the RA cons. on Monday and see what she says.

Thanks for the input.



ESR.. This is a measure of inflammation, be it joints, swollen glands etc

itis means inflammation hope this helps x


Hi there I have just been to hospital for a steroid injection because of visible swelling in my knees and fingers and wrists. I have a lot of pain just now but my ESR is 8. I was told my DAS score is 4.3 so I suppose there are lots of things to be considered. Don't worry let your rheumy team sort you out. Xxxxx


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