BMP Test Facts

A BMP or Basic Metabolic Panel test gives a physician or other health care provider vital data about the current condition of an individual's kidneys, electrolyte and acid-base balance and blood glucose level. Atypical results, particularly some combinations of atypical results, may suggest an issue that needs to be dealt with in the near future. When there are drastic changes in the results, there may be acute problems. These problems can include kidney failure, respiratory trouble, diabetic coma or insulin shock and changes in heart rhythm. These problems may be related to or a result of a variety of different conditions.

What does a BMP test include?

A BMP test includes the following components:

  • Calcium: One of the body's most vital minerals. It is necessary for proper nerve, muscle and heart functions. It is also necessary for bone formation and blood clotting.
  • Glucose: A significant body energy source. The body needs to have a regular supply available. The blood must keep a fairly regular glucose level at all times.

Electrolytes

  • Chloride: Monitors and adjusts body fluid as needed. It also completes acid-base balance maintenance.
  • CO2 (carbon dioxide): Plays a role in regulating acid-base balance (pH) in the body.
  • Potassium: A necessary component for both functioning of muscles and metabolism of cells.
  • Sodium: Essential for normal processes of the body, which include both muscle and nerve functions.

Kidney tests

  • BUN or blood urea nitrogen: The waste product that the kidneys separate from the blood. Conditions that can have an affect on the kidneys may alter the blood's urea amount.
  • Creatinine: Muscles produce this waste product. The kidneys separate it from the blood. Thus, blood levels are a strong indicator of general kidney functioning.

When will a health care provider order a BMP test?

A BMP can be a component of a routine health examination. Sometimes a BMP test is ordered when a patient is in the emergency room of a hospital. The results can give the medical team information about an individual's current status.

How is a sample obtained for the BMP test?

A needle is inserted into an arm vein to obtain a blood sample.

Does a BMP test require any preparation ahead of time?

Typically, people undergoing BMP tests are required to abstain from all food and drink except water for 10-to-12 hours before the blood draw will take place. Whether the test is completed after fasting or at a random time depends on the reason for requesting the test.

Is there anything else that patients should know before taking a BMP test?

Any number of different over-the-counter and prescription drugs may alter the results of different BMP components. It is important to give your health care provider details about all of the medications that you are current taking before you take the test. It is also important to disclose a full medical history and any other facts that may play a role in the analysis of your results.

What happens when the results of a BMP test are not normal?

Typically, when the BMP results do not indicate normal functioning in all tested areas, a health care provider will order one or more additional tests. These tests can help narrow down the cause of the problem and/or assist in determining a diagnosis.

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