What Does The Blood Test Result Mean? Part 1 – Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, also known as CMP is an inexpensive blood test that gives you vital information. Why is this important? Generally most people have not had the training to understand what the basic laboratory tests mean. The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel is important because it gives an overview of exactly what and how the body is functioning. To understand just the basics of your blood tests will assist you in your health care program. When your physician says all of your results were normal, now you will know what that means.

The comprehensive metabolic panel actually has 17 different tests within the panel. Within these17 tests is important information regarding your kidneys, liver, electrolytes and your sugar levels.

Glucose– To determine if your blood glucose level is within healthy ranges; to screen for, diagnose, and monitor diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – This measures the amount of nitrogen in your blood that comes from the waste product urea. This is made when protein is broken down in your body. It is used evaluate kidney function and monitor the effectiveness of dialysis and other treatments related to kidney disease or damage.

Creatinine– To determine if your kidneys are functioning normally and to monitor treatment for kidney disease. The kidneys also filter out waste and other unneeded substances from the blood.

BUN/ Creatinine Ratio– Comparison of the two waste products of the normal metabolic processes.

Sodium– To determine whether your sodium concentration is within normal limits and to help evaluate electrolyte balance and kidney function.

Potassium– To determine whether your potassium concentration is within normal limits and to help evaluate an electrolyte imbalance. It is critical for normal functioning of the muscles, nerves and heart.

Chloride – To determine if there is a problem with your body’s electrolyte or acid-base balance and to monitor treatment. It also helps maintain proper blood volume, blood pressure, and PH of your body fluids.

Carbon Dioxide– Carbon dioxide is a gaseous waste product made from metabolism. The blood carries carbon dioxide to your lungs, where it is exhaled. Your kidneys and lungs balance the levels of carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, and carbonic acid in the blood.

Calcium– To determine if the level of calcium in your blood is at normal levels. Calcium is important to many body functions including muscle contraction, nerve and brain function, bone formation and the release of hormones.

Total Protein– -To determine your nutritional status or to screen for certain liver and kidney disorders as well as other diseases.

Albumin– To screen for a liver disorder or kidney disease or to evaluate nutritional status.

Globulin- Globulins are proteins that can be measured in blood serum. High levels may indicate liver disease, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune diseases. Low levels may be related to immune deficiency kidney problems or bowel related disease.

A/G Ratio– It has to do with the ratio of albumin and globulin, serum proteins. A decrease in the A/G ratio often indicates the presence of impaired liver function, nutritional status, kidney disease and many other conditions.

Total Bilirubin – To screen for or monitor liver disorders.

ALP– To screen for or monitor treatment for a liver or bone disorders

AST (SGOT ) – To detect potential damage to heart skeletal muscle and liver cells..

ALT(SGPT)- To screen for liver damage. Injury to the liver results in release of this enzyme into the blood.

The comprehensive metabolic panel may also be used to monitor a disease process, and for treatment purposes. Many treatable diseases do not show any physical signs and symptoms, until damage is done. Just because you feel fine does not mean that something may not be wrong. Early detection will save you time, money and heartache down the road.

Diabetes is on the rise. Due to poor food choices and obesity, more and more people are developing Type 2 diabetes. This is preventable in some cases. Simple changes can be done early before potential systemic body damage has started. The American Diabetes Association is a great resource for more information on diabetes.

Liver disease may remain silent for many years until irreversible damage is done. The liver is the largest organ in the body. It plays key roles in many vital body functions. It acts as a filter and is involved in metabolism; hormones, clotting and much more. Other important key factors that may lead to liver disease may include alcohol consumption, prescription medications, over the counter medications, and herbal supplements. Hepatitis may remain silent and only be diagnosed through a simple liver blood test which shows elevated liver enzymes. There are two main enzymes called ALT and AST. These enzymes are located within liver cells which may leak into the bloodstream once damage is done.

Kidney disease can remain silent for many years also. Diseases like hypertension and diabetes may affect your kidney function. The kidneys play many vital roles in processing wastes, and excreting them form the body in the form of urine. When the kidneys fail to do their job, wastes build up quickly resulting in dialysis or death. The Centers for Diseases Contol and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in March 2007 showed some staggering numbers. One in nine adults has chronic kidney disease. Another statistic shows there are 470,000 people relying on dialysis to live. That is almost a half a million people!

Electrolytes are used by nerve, heart, and muscle cells to carry electrical impulses to muscles, nerves and brain. Electrolyte disturbances can occur with vomiting, diarrhea, or diseases involving hormones that regulate electrolyte concentrations. Potassium levels are tied to heart and nerve impulses as well as muscle function.

Time and money are crucial to each of us, luckily there are ways to get to get tested with having to waste too much of either. Reduce your wasted time, money, and stress by understanding the basics of your body first. The next time you see your physician, you may feel a bit empowered by telling him you have already tested and understand what your results mean.

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