Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel
What Is a Blood Test?
A blood test is when a sample of blood is taken from the body to be tested in a lab. Doctors order blood tests to check things such as the levels of glucose, hemoglobin, or white blood cells. This can help them detect problems like a disease or medical condition. Sometimes, blood tests can help them see how well an organ (such as the liver or kidneys) is working.
What Is a Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)?
The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a blood test that gives doctors information about the body's fluid balance, levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and how well the kidneys are working.
Why Are Basic Metabolic Panels Done?
A BMP is done to learn information about the levels of:
- Glucose, a type of sugar used by the body for energy. High glucose levels may point to diabetes.
- Calcium, which plays an important role in how muscles and nerves work.
- Sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, and chloride, which help control the body's fluid levels and its acid-base balance. Normal levels of these electrolytes help keep cells in the body working as they should.
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, which are waste products filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. These levels show how well the kidneys are working.
How Should I Prepare for a BMP?
You may be asked to stop eating and drinking for 8 to 12 hours before a BMP. Tell your doctor about any medicines you take because some drugs might affect the test results. Wearing a T-shirt or short-sleeved shirt can make things easier for you on the day of the test.
What if I Have Questions?
If you have questions about the BMP or what the test results mean, talk to your doctor.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995- The Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth® is a registered trademark of The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.
Images sourced by The Nemours Foundation and Getty Images.