What is a 'normal' ESR result on a blood test?

On my latest bloods my ESR has come back at 19 (the lab range for 'normal' is 0-7) but the GP has said no action needs to be taken. It was tested 18 months ago and then it was 2.

I'm having terrible muscle pains so am waiting for a rheumatology referral to come through but as my ESR result of 19 is higher than the lab range I'm wondering if this could be significant at all? I've read online that a result under 20 is normal for a woman under 50 (I'm 38) so I'm not sure why the lab says the range is 0-7 - am very confused and what appreciated any advice anyone can offer :)

4 Replies

  • Jules, elevated ESR can indicated inflammation in the body, infection or anaemia. The muscle pain you are experiencing could cause your ESR to rise.


  • Do you know if 19 is elevated as most websites seem to say under 20 is 'normal'?

  • Originally the lab range for the ESR test ascribed to Westergren stated that 0-7 was the normal lab range, so this may be where your lab figure comes from, but in the 60's it was acknowledged that these values didn't reflect the normal increase in ESR, with age. Accordingly the ranges were changed to reflect this:

    Men under 50 years old: less than 15 mm/hr

    Men over 50 years old: less than 20 mm/hr

    Women under 50 years old: less than 20 mm/hr

    Women over 50 years old: less than 30 mm/hr

    and so this is where the value of 20 for you as a female under 50 yrs, comes from.

  • So would that mean that my reading of 19 is normal after all then? It still seems odd to me that 18 months ago my reading was 2 as that seems a dramatic increase? I think I'm so desperate for something to show up that could help to explain my symptoms :(

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