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Wanting to search for cause of inflammation after elevated ESR in blood test

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Oak, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. Oak


    Hi everyone!

    I am 27 and female and recently had my blood test show an ESR level of 27. This time last year it was 21. Because I am female it's my understanding that at my age my maximum ESR should be 14.

    I am in the UK and had a standard (?) blood est on the NHS, so I'm unsure of everything they tested for. All I know is that everything else was normal other than the ESR and the B12 (I do supplement with b12, but I had read it couldn't accumulate in the body as it's water soluble and excreted in urine so am a little confused)

    Basically, as I currently have no diagnosis other than IBS, migraines, anxiety and depression but am being largely ignored by my GP I feel I should be trying to suggest routes for her to look in to for me. Just wondering what sort of long term infections I could have that could be causing such severe symptoms?

    (If you're interested in my history/symptoms more info can be found in my first thread here:

    One thing I'm thinking of right now is both my sinuses and my wisdom teeth.

    Sinuses - prescribed Avamys nasal spray (fluticasone furoate) on my recent suggestion that perhaps some of my sleeping issues/waking with panic attacks could be due to allergy (something I read online). Clearly this has come on very slowly because I barely noticied my allergies as I was so used to them, but the spray is making my nasal passageways so much clearer, it's easier to breathe and night by a long way and my nocturnal panic attacks have all but stopped.

    However, I currently have significant pain behind my eyes (though not constant) and also a heavy, burning sensation in what i assume are my sinuses, which feels more dry and burny when i breathe in through my nose. Could this be some sort of long term infection?

    Wisdom teeth - I am 27 and my wisdom teeth, at least on the bottom row, are still 50% covered in gum tissue. They have been trying to come out since what, 15? The surrounding gum would periodically get mildly infected, feeling painful and smelly if I touched them. When I was 24 I got a much more intense infection when I became feverish and my whole jaw was so stiff and painful, I had swollen glands nearby and I could only just open my mouth enough to eat and eating was incredibly painful. For some reason I decided to just treat it at home with hot sea salt compresses and Corsodyl. It cleared up but if I press my finger against the gum it smells no great despite frequent brushing. I know I need to go to the dentist because my other teeth and painful and sensitive and I've already needed a filling but I'm scared of the dentist and currently housebound. I feel really stuck. Could I have some sort of long term infection hidden there too?

    On these boards there is so much information and so many possible avenues to go down, but when you're housebound and very ill with a low income and reluctant doctors it seems important to be selective.
    Sidereal, rosie26 and justy like this.
  2. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

    ESR is incredibly general - I have an elevated ESR most of the time and the NHS is not the least bit interested in searching for a cause.

    I have Lyme, Bartonella, Chlamydia pneumonia, severe intestinal permeability, SIBO and MCAS - pretty much all of these cause inflammation so take your pick!

    If you can't afford specialist non standard testing then the best bet is to try and treat inflammation generally in the body with herbs etc and I would certainly get those teeth fixed if you are able to.
  3. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

    The ESR is always difficult to interpret. Even in some young people it can be high for no obvious reason. These days the standard thing is to do a CRP, which is much more clear cut on interpretation. It should be less then 5. Tooth problems may be able to put an ESR up and certainly if you have pain I would recommend seeing a dentist and getting your mouth sorted. Looking after your teeth at your age pays great dividends when you get to my age. If teeth are kept in good nick in the twenties I suspect they are likely to last to 80. I had problems as a child, in the days when everyone had fillings all over, and I now have three implants - which aren't cheap, although they work OK. These days good dentists don't cause damage later on the way they used to.
    Valentijn, justy and Kati like this.
  4. rosie26

    rosie26 Senior Member

    @Oak I wish I could send you my old dentist, he is retired now. Just about everyone I knew went to the male dentist who was younger but I liked my one best. :lol: He would chat to me and the dental hygienist about his adventures, hiking and biking trips and other things. It was very hard going to the dentist in my sickest years. I had to tell him to not put the back of the chair down too far because of POTS. Yes, it very hard when you are so sick to have to go to the dentist and I struggled to find the money.

    I had trouble with my lower wisdom teeth at your age. I developed an abscess under one of them and the pain was something out of this world. I was 21 at the time and I had both lower wisdoms pulled out. The top two wisdoms never gave me any trouble at all but they were pulled out along with all the rest when I was 42.

    Do you find you have a variety of sinus symptoms? I have had just about everything from drippy, blocked, dry and inflamed, aching and infected. Looking back there was a kind of pattern in stages. In my mild years of ME I had a constantly dripping nose. At severe onset I had dry inflamed nose with blocked infected sinuses which took a couple of years to improve. Then for many years I would get achy infected sinuses when I did too much. My sinuses are a lot better these days and aren't one of my most debilitating symptoms at the moment.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  5. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

    Hi @Oak ,

    After having oral infections since childhood with insufficient treatment, I realize that the chronic infections have been a hobble to my health.

    I regret that the infections weren't treated.
    rosie26 likes this.
  6. kmor


    hi oak, I can sympathize with your struggles as I experienced a lot of similar symptoms for years. initially, my ME symptoms were more "mild" but after extensive dental work, I began having sinus infections and ongoing soreness in a couple teeth which the dentists couldn't figure out. long story short, they didn't realize for a couple years that my teeth were cracked and infected. during this time, my health deteriorated and I experienced a whole cascade of new symptoms including, chronic sinus problems requiring periodic antibiotics, IBS, breathing difficulties, tachychardia, dizziness, ringing in the ears, etc. I wont expand on my journey right now but I urge you to do whatever it takes to get to the dentist soon. in my case, I had to take antibiotics to get stable enough to breath while lyng back in the chair. it was hard to go to the dentist/oral surgeon and it took time to recover but it saved my life and put me on the track to recovery which would have otherwise been impossible. the fact that you have issues with your infected wisdom teeth and there is a smell associated with them, along with your sinus issues and related symptoms, really calls for a dental visit. I wish you the best.
    actup likes this.

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