In short, a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is a blood test that measures the 14 aspects of your blood that determine your chemical balance and metabolism. Metabolism is the word used to describe the chemical processes within a living organism, or more plainly, how your body uses food and energy.
What exactly does a comprehensive metabolic panel include? What does this particular blood test show?
Genesis Medical Diagnostics describes the CMP as “a broad screening tool that includes 14 tests that evaluate your overall health. The panel looks at your liver and kidney function, electrolytes, blood sugar, blood proteins, and more.” Specifically, it will measure:
Blood Sugar: Glucose; your body’s primary source of energy.
Calcium – One of the body’s essential minerals, required for the proper functioning of your nerves, muscles, and heart.
Electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Carbon Dioxide, and Chloride, also known as electrolytes, are electrically charged minerals that control the balance of fluids, acids, and bases in your body.
Liver Protein and Enzyme Production: Your liver is responsible for making ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine transaminase), and AST (aspartate aminotransferase), which are vital enzymes, and Albumin, the protein that carries those enzymes throughout your body along with hormones and vitamins.
Bilirubin – A waste product made by the liver.
Kidney Function: Your kidneys remove the waste products Creatinine and BUN (blood urea nitrogen) from your blood.
Total Protein – The total amount of protein in your blood.
A CMP shows medical professionals that your metabolic markers are within expected ranges. If levels are abnormal, it can signify serious health problems, including liver disease, kidney failure, or diabetes. You would need more tests to confirm or preclude a definite diagnosis. Always discuss your results with your doctor.
Why Should You Take a CMP?
- As part of a regular checkup
- To monitor the side effects of medications
- In response to symptoms of liver or kidney disease
- As a safety precaution for those at risk of diabetes
- To identify vague symptoms such as fatigue, soreness, or headaches
- As part of a game plan for improved athletic performance
- As a part of a proactive strategy for early detection and preventative action
What is the Process of Getting a CMP?
You can ask your doctor for a requisition to visit your local medical laboratory, or take matters into your own hands by ordering a test online – no appointment, doctor’s order, or insurance authorizations needed.
Comprehensive vs. Basic Metabolic Panel
Some refer to a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel as a chemistry panel or a chemistry screen. However, while correct, these titles can also refer to a Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP). A BMP includes only eight of the same tests as a CMP and doesn’t include the liver or protein tests. Therefore, a CMP yields a more in-depth look at your health and gives you better information upon which to base your decisions.
Your health begins with how your body’s metabolism handles food. Accordingly, testing the critical indicators of that process is an intelligent way of formulating your plan for your long-term health goals. Many people assume that their health is fine until it isn’t, like when things start to hurt or symptoms become impossible to ignore. But finding the warning signs of potential problems early allows you to adjust your life patterns before those problems become realities. How many people wish they could go back in time to tell themselves to get a checkup before they started to suffer! A bit of forethought can go a long way towards a happier, healthier lifestyle.