Basic Metabolic Panel

A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a blood test that is designed to measures your sugar (glucose) level, electrolyte, fluid balance, and kidney functions. The basic metabolic panel test is used to check the state of a person’s kidney and electrolyte and base/acid balance, as well as general blood glucose level- all of which are highly related to a person’s metabolism.  

A couple things to note, glucose is a type of sugar your body uses for energy. Electrolytes keep your body's fluids in balance.

A comprehensive metabolic panel is a similar test that also checks liver function in addition to the rest.  Both can be used as part of a routine medical examination, but are most often used for patients that have diabetes or high blood pressure.  Also, it can be used to monitor hospitalized patients and folks with certain conditions like hypokalemia and hypertension.  

Due to the fact that the entire component offers more information, a healthcare provider who is interested in following two or more individual basic metabolic panel (BMP) component may order the entire BMP.  Alternatively, the health practitioner may order individual tests when monitoring, such as potassium, calcium, and a follow-up glucose or order an electrolyte panel to monitor potassium, chloride, sodium, and CO2.  In a situation where a healthcare provider wants detailed information, he or she could order a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)- a group of 14 test that includes the BMP. 

When is the basic metabolic panel ordered?

A Basic Metabolic Panel may be ordered as part of a routine health exam. The BMP is often ordered in the hospital emergency room setting due to the fact that its components offer healthcare providers vital information about the current status of a person’s kidneys, blood glucose, acid/base balance and calcium levels. Significant changes in these test result can indicate serious problems like respiratory distress, insulin shock or diabetic coma, kidney failure or heart rhythm changes.

What does the test result mean? 

Test results that are part of the BMP are generally evaluated together to look for patterns of results.  A single abnormal or unusual test results could mean something totally different than if all or several test results are abnormal. 

Unusual results on any of the test included in the BMP can be due to a variety of different conditions and factors, including breathing problems, kidney failures, and diabetes-related complications. Normally, if any of the results are out-of-range, one or more follow-up tests are conducted to help pinpoint the cause or help establish a diagnosis. 

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