Basic metabolic panel

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What is a basic metabolic panel?

A basic metabolic panel is a blood test that consists of a set of 7 or 8 biochemical tests that are Used to assess electrolytes, acid/base balance, blood glucose, and kidney status. It is considered to be one of the most common lab tests ordered.

Why would I get a basic metabolic panel?

This test gives your doctor an idea about how your body is working. Your doctor may order this as part of a routine physical or to help in the diagnosis of a medical condition.

The BMP test looks at the following:

  1. Glucose. High glucose levels can indicate diabetes. 
  2. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine. High levels in the blood may indicate that kidneys aren't working normally.
  3. Calcium. Increased or decreased levels could be a sign of hormonal imbalance or problems with the bones, pancreas, or kidneys. 
  4. Sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, and chloride. Abnormal levels of these electrolytes could be a sign of kidney disease, heart disease, or dehydration. 

What happens during a basic metabolic panel?

Basic metabolic panel is like any blood test. The health professional cleans the skin surface with antiseptic and ties an elastic band around the upper arm so the veins swell with blood and are easy to see.

Next, a needle will be inserted. It should feel like a quick pinprick. Sometimes, it can be hard to find a vein so a technician may need to try more than once. The technician will collect the blood in a syringe or vial. This takes only a few minutes and the procedure usually has little if any pain.

What to expect after the test is over

There are no specific precautions required after the test. You should be able to drive yourself home and do all your regular activities. Please note that it is normal to notice some bruising and it should go away in a few days. You shouldn’t be concerned about it. If you have been fasting, you might want to bring a snack to eat after the test.


The blood sample will be processed by a machine. It usually takes a few hours to a day for your doctor to get the results. If your doctor has any concerns after the test results are in, he or she may ask for additional tests.


John Hopkins Medicine: Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel

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