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Elevated ESR

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Old 03-11-2011, 01:30 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Knoxville, Tn USA
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rlpma HB User
Question Elevated ESR

Hi. I am trying to get to the bottom of what my husband has been going through. I know you guys can't diagnose, but if anyone could maybe share their ideals of what might be wrong, then I could do some more research and hopefully find some answers. I didn't really know which board to post this on, but figured I would start here.
So, well over a week ago, my husband's right foot got real swollen, and red, and was tender and he was in severe pain, but he had not injured himself in any way. Well, then the same thing started in his right wrist. It ended up in his knee, too, but not as severe as the foot and wrist. His wrist is now huge, fingers and hand swollen, red, severe pain. He is constant pain, has shooting pains too that he says feels like electrical shocks.
We don't have insurance but we did find a doctor in our area who treats the uninsured working free of charge. So, he went to him, they took blood. They mentioned maybe gout. I looked it up and thought this was it because the symptoms sounded exactly like what he was experiencing.
He got his bloodwork back and they said no gout because his uric acid level was normal. They told him that his ESR (sedimantation rate?) was high and that this means an infection or inflammation. Well, obviously he has inflammation, you can see it. The only thing that might have something to do with all of this is that he had a very bad bout with the flu about a week or two before this pain started.
I so much want to help him and get him out of this pain. Does anyone have any ideals at all about what this might be? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Old 03-11-2011, 02:50 PM   #2
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Re: Elevated ESR

The "sed rate" is a test done to determine if inflammation is present but it doesn't tell you where or what kind. But it does rule out swelling due to injury so that helps.

It does spund like gout and uric acid can be normal during an attack so it doesn't rule that out. The best test for that is to remove fluid from one of the swollen joints so they can look for the crystals in the fluid that are literally stabbing the cells.

But having had the flu a couple of weeks earlier is also a clue. The flu virus can cause bad joint problems after wards. It is quite common after viruses and infections. Viruses and bacteria can both give off chemicals while you are sick or even as they die off, that can inflame joints badly. We get more people on the Arthritis board with post-viral or post-infection arthritis than anything else. I had it hit my right wrist after having strep throat and it was horribly painful.

But unfortunately, there is no treatment for it except drugs like ibuprofen for pain and a lot of time. The body just has to get rid of whatever is left behind from the flu virus and then the joints have to calm down by themselves.

Ice can help with swelling and heat can help to soothe it once the swelling is down. Ibuprofen(the cheapest you can get) is fine and he can take up to 4 200mgs tablets, 4 times a day for maximum relief. That's 800mgs, 4 times a day and NO higher. Max dose even when prescribed. And I wouldn't stay on that for more than a few days. And no alcohol while taking it. As soon as the pain relief begins, then try lowering it to either 3 200mgs tabs. 4 times a day(600mgs) or keep taking the 4 tablets but only take it 3 times a day. Either way you reduce the maximum dose from 3200mgs in a day to 2400mgs in a day. That is easier on the liver. I took these exact same dose for several years...3200mgs when I was in very bad pain and then 2400mgs. when I was more comfortable. I have body wide OA and rheumatoid.

If he gets any bad stomach aches from the ibuprofen, then stop. Always take it with food.

If it keeps up and doesn't respond to the ibuprofen, then it may still be gout. If you won't have insurance for a while, then start looking for an arthritis clinic associated with a hospital or medical school that treats people for free or on a sliding fee scale. He will need more tests and more meds.

Hope this helps. It's what I took when I got a bad wrist and what my docs put me on when I got really bad arthritis. And I still use it to this day, 30 years later. Beats pain meds and works better. You just have to watch out for stomach trouble. In fact, I'm on my way to take 3 200mgs ibuprofens right now. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

Let me know if it helps..............Jenny

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Old 03-11-2011, 03:22 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Knoxville, Tn USA
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rlpma HB User
Re: Elevated ESR

Hi, Jenny. Thanks so much for your reply and for the information. So, maybe I will research the gout a little more since you indicated the test might not show the problem. Also, the post-infection type of arthritis, I need to check that out, too. Thanks so much!

Old 03-12-2011, 07:06 AM   #4
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Re: Elevated ESR

Jenny. Great info. you gave Ripma!!! I learned a lot from it. I had no idea a virus could manifest into something like this. I wonder why it only affects one side.

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