For someone with rheumatoid arthritis, an erythrocyte sedimentation rate, ESR or sedimentation rate, is likely to be above 15 to 20 millimeters per hour in men and above 20 to 30 millimeters per hour in women, notes MedlinePlus. ESR measures inflammation by timing the sedimentation rate of red blood cells.
While ESR helps with diagnosis, doctors generally evaluate the results in coordination with other tests to confirm conditions, states MedlinePlus. Besides RA and other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, an elevated ESR may also accompany anemia, kidney disease, pregnancy, thyroid disease and certain cancers. Additionally, some infections, including tuberculosis and rheumatic fever, present with increased ESR rates.