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What does a high sed rate indicate?

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Quick Answer

According to WebMD, a high sedimentation rate may be caused by an autoimmune disease, cancer, an infection, joint inflammation, pregnancy, Graves' disease or a viral infection. The sedimentation rate blood tests indirectly measure the amount of inflammation present in the body.

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Full Answer

A sedimentation blood test measures the amount of time it takes for red blood cells to settle into a test tube. After an hour, the amount of red blood cells that has settled into the bottom of the test tube is measured. A high sedimentation rate indicates that a high concentration of red blood cells settled to the bottom of the test tube within the hour, states WebMD.

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