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Basic Metabolic Panel (Blood)

Does this test have other names?

BMP, chemistry panel, chem 7, electrolyte panel

What is this test?

This blood test gives information about your body's metabolism, or how your body uses food for energy. It gives a snapshot of the health of your kidneys, your blood sugar levels, and the levels of key electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium. A basic metabolic panel test measures the levels of eight important things in your blood:

  • Calcium. Calcium plays a role in keeping your cells working the way they should. It also helps blood clot normally.

  • Carbon dioxide. This can be a measure of how well your kidneys and lungs are working.

  • Chloride. This is a measure related to how your body manages fluids.

  • Creatinine. This is a byproduct of your kidneys' normal functioning, and levels can tell how well your kidneys are working.

  • Glucose. Glucose, or blood sugar, is a key source of energy for your body, but too much or too little can be a problem.

  • Potassium. This mineral plays a leading role in cell health.

  • Sodium. This mineral plays a key role in making sure cells, tissues, and blood have enough water to work well.

  • Urea nitrogen, or BUN. This is another byproduct of kidney function that shows how well your kidneys are working.

Why do I need this test?

You may need this test if your healthcare provider needs to look at how well your body is working. It may be done as part of a workup for a problem, in an emergency situation, before surgery, or as part of a regular checkup.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may order other blood tests, depending on what he or she needs to know.

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.

Results are given in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L), or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). The normal adult range of each individual measure within the test can vary among labs.

A number of health conditions may cause out-of-range results. These include dehydration, diabetes-related complications, lung problems, and kidney or liver problems. If a test result is abnormally high or low, your provider will usually order one or more follow-up tests to find the problem.

How is this test done?

The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.

Does this test pose any risks?

Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.

What might affect my test results?

Various prescription and over-the-counter medicines can affect the results of this test. Be certain to give your healthcare provider a complete health history that includes the medicines you use.

How do I get ready for this test?

Your healthcare provider may ask you to not eat or drink anything but water for 6 to 8 hours before the test. Be sure your provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.


Medical Reviewers:

  • Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
  • Sather, Rita, RN