A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a helpful and common test that measures several important aspects of your blood. Healthcare providers often use it as a go-to blood test to assess your general physical health, and it can also help diagnose, screen for and monitor certain health conditions.
A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a blood sample test that measures eight different substances in your blood. The panel provides helpful information about your body's chemical balance and metabolism (how your body transforms the food you eat into energy).
Healthcare providers often use a BMP as a go-to blood test and to help diagnose, screen for or monitor certain health conditions.
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A basic metabolic panel measures the following substances in your blood:
A BMP also measures the following four electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge when they are dissolved in a liquid. These electrolytes in your blood control nerve and muscle function and maintain the acid-base balance (pH balance) of your blood and your water balance.
There are many reasons that healthcare providers may order a basic metabolic panel (BMP). Providers often order a BMP to get a broad assessment of your overall physical health. With eight individual measurements, it can check several body functions and processes, including:
Your provider may also order a BMP if you’re experiencing a more general symptom, such as:
Depending on the situation, your provider may order a BMP for the following:
A basic metabolic panel (BMP) can provide helpful information in many different situations, including:
A BMP and a CMP are similar. They’re both considered routine, go-to blood tests. The difference is that a CMP includes 14 individual tests — the same eight tests as a BMP, plus six more tests. The additional six tests measure certain proteins and liver enzymes in your blood. The additional tests in a CMP include:
Your healthcare provider may order a CMP instead of a BMP to get a more complete picture of your overall health and/or to help diagnose or monitor liver disease or other specific conditions.
A healthcare provider called a phlebotomist usually performs blood draws, including those for BMPs and CMPs, but any healthcare provider who is trained in drawing blood can perform this task. The samples are sent to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on machines known as analyzers.
You will likely need to fast for at least eight hours before your basic metabolic panel blood test. Fasting for this blood panel means not eating or drinking anything other than water. Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions when they order the test for you.
You can expect to experience the following during a blood test, or blood draw:
The entire procedure usually takes less than five minutes.
After a healthcare provider has collected your blood sample, they’ll send it to a laboratory for testing. Once the test results are back, your healthcare provider will share the results with you.
Blood tests are a very common and essential part of medical testing and screening. There’s very little risk to having blood tests. You may have slight tenderness or a bruise at the site of the blood draw, but this usually resolves quickly.
In most cases, you should get the results of your BMP within 1 to 2 days, though it could take longer.
If you’re being treated in an emergency room and undergo a BMP, your provider should have the test results within hours.
Blood test reports, including basic metabolic panel test reports, usually provide the following information:
If any single BMP result or a combination of results are not normal, it may indicate — but not guarantee — many different health conditions, including:
A BMP can also diagnose or help diagnose acute (sudden and severe) conditions, including:
If you have an abnormal result, your healthcare provider will likely have you undergo additional tests to confirm or rule out a specific diagnosis. If you have questions about your results, don’t be afraid to talk to your provider.
If one of your BMP results is abnormal, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have a medical condition. Other factors, such as diet, certain medications and health conditions, can affect your test results. There could’ve also been an error in the processing of the test.
Your healthcare provider will take into consideration your medical history and current medications and your results and let you know if you need to undergo further testing.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A basic metabolic panel is a helpful and common blood test that broadly assesses your physical health. Know that having an abnormal level in one of your BMP results doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical condition. Many other factors can affect your results. Approximately 1 in 20 healthy people will have a result outside of the normal range. Your healthcare provider will let you know if you need to undergo further tests to determine the cause of the abnormal level. Don’t be afraid to ask your provider questions. They’re there to help you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/04/2021.
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