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What’s Measured in a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

March 18, 2024

What’s Measured in a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

A lot of people talk about metabolism, but less understand what it actually is.  In a scientific sense, metabolism is all the chemical processes that occur within a living being.  The word is often used to describe how bodies break down food and turn it into energy.  You often hear people say they have a fast or slow metabolism, usually as part of an explanation of their eating habits.  An individual’s metabolism changes throughout their life and may sometimes require tests by a doctor.

What is a comprehensive metabolic panel?

A comprehensive metabolic panel, or CMP, is a test that shows how a person’s current metabolism works.  It measures the health of the kidneys and liver as well as the amount of electrolytes, blood sugar, and proteins in the body.  The test is done by drawing blood from a vein in the arm.  This blood sample is then tested in a lab to see how your individualized metabolism is working.

What does a comprehensive metabolic panel test measure?

The CMP has the word panel in its name because it is a group of 14 tests rolled into one blood draw.  The screening covers many different areas of the body.  The 14 things measured in the CMP are as follows:

·         Glucose

·         Calcium

·         Proteins : Albumin – a protein created in the liver

·         Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Carbon dioxide, Chloride

·         Kidneys: Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) – waste from blood filtered out by the kidneys, Creatinine – waste product from muscles

·         Liver: Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), Alanine amino transferase (ALT or SGPT), Aspartate amino transferase (AST or SGOT), Bilirubin – waste product from liver

The comprehensive metabolic panel test measures how much of each of these chemicals are in the body.  While it focuses mostly on the liver and kidneys, all parts of the body are affected by metabolism and therefore included in the CMP in some way, shape, or form.

Why do people get a CMP test?

The comprehensive metabolic panel can be used to test for a variety of diseases.  These include diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease.  The test is also used to monitor different health conditions including hypertension and people on liver or kidney medications.

Do I need to prepare for the CMP?

Many patients are asked to fast for 10 to 12 hours before having a comprehensive metabolic panel test.  Drinking water is still allowed during this time.  While fasting tests are often more accurate, the test is sometimes included as part of a routine health exam, depending on age and risk factors for certain diseases.  In the case that your doctor wants you to have a CMP during a checkup, you will not have to go without food beforehand.  This is called a random test.

How do I know if my CMP results are good?

There is no specific “good” result for a CMP.  Because the test covers such a wide range of areas, normal looks different from person to person.  Your results paper will have a column of reference ranges and a column with your levels.  Ideally, your numbers should fall within the range in the first column.  If they don’t, your doctor may want to run more tests to see if there was a fluke or if there is a possible health problem.

Where can I get a CMP?

BASS Primary Care offers comprehensive metabolic panel tests and a list of other laboratory services. Call (925) 962-9120, schedule an appointment online, or simply walk in Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.