What is the blood test BMP?

What is the blood test BMP?

Chances are, if you’ve had your blood taken in the past, the doctor or nurse practitioner may have ordered a BMP to be done on that blood specimen.  What is a BMP, exactly?  A BMP, or basic metabolic panel, is actually 8 tests that measure your kidney function, fluid balance, and blood sugar. Abnormal results may indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.

The BMP includes the following tests:

Kidney Tests:

  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen):  A waste product filtered out of the blood by the kidneys.  An elevated BUN may indicate abnormal kidney function, liver disease, or heart failure.  A low number may indicate malnutrition.
  • Creatinine:  A waste product produced in the muscles, also filtered out of the blood by the kidneys.  The creatinine level is another indication of kidney function.  A low value may indicate low muscle mass or malnutrition.  A high value may indicate a chronic or temporary decrease in kidney function.

Fluid Balance (Electrolytes):

  • Sodium:  One of the major salts in the body fluid. It is important for the body’s water balance and nerve and muscle function.  A low value may indicate the use of diuretics, diarrhea or adrenal insufficiency.  A high value may indicate kidney dysfunction, dehydration, or Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Potassium:  Vital to cell metabolism and muscle function.  A low value may indicate the use of diuretics or corticosteroids such as prednisone or cortisone.  A high may indicate acute or chronic kidney failure, Addison’s disease, diabetes, or dehydration.
  • Chloride:  Helps to regulate the amount of fluid in the body and maintain acid/base balance.   A low value may indicate emphysema or chronic lung disease.  A high value may indicate dehydration, Cushing’s syndrome or kidney disease.
  • CO2 (Carbon Dioxide):  Used to help detect and/or monitor electrolyte imbalances.  A low value may indicate kidney disease, toxic exposure or severe infection.  A high value may indicate lung disease including COPD.
  • Calcium- Is a light alkali metal which can be associated with malnutrition, osteoporosis, and malignancy. It is essential for development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is also important for normal function of muscles, nerves and blood clotting.  A low value may indicate Calcium, Magnesium or Vitamin D deficiency, malnutrition, pancreatitis, or neurological disorders.  High values may be associated with kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, cancer, or excessive vitamin D intake.
  • Glucose- Also known as blood sugar, is the body’s energy source. A relatively constant level of glucose must be maintained in the blood. This test is used to identify and/or monitor diabetes.

These tests can rapidly indicate several common acute conditions requiring immediate medical treatment, such as dehydration, diabetic shock, hypoglycemia, or renal failure, to name a few.  The BMP is a smaller version of the CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel), which includes these tests, plus tests for liver function. The CMP will be discussed at a later date.