How to Understand Your Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Results

Not sure what your com­pre­hen­sive meta­bol­ic pan­el results mean? Learn about the 14 sub­stances this test ana­lyzes — and what it could mean about your health.

At your annu­al phys­i­cal, your health­care provider does rou­tine tests — some of which you may not even think twice about. They lis­ten to your heart and your lungs, check your blood pres­sure, and some­times, send you for a rou­tine blood test called a com­pre­hen­sive meta­bol­ic panel. 

A com­pre­hen­sive meta­bol­ic pan­el (CMP) is a blood test that can diag­nose and mon­i­tor a wide range of health con­di­tions, like liv­er dis­ease, kid­ney dis­ease, dia­betes, and high blood pres­sure. It’s also often used as a screen­ing tool, mean­ing it’s done even when you don’t have symp­toms of a condition. 

CMPs are sim­i­lar to basic meta­bol­ic pan­els (BMPs), but CMPs also include six addi­tion­al liv­er enzyme and pro­tein tests. This gives CMPs a total of 14 indi­vid­ual mea­sure­ments that reveal a lot about your health. Both are dif­fer­ent from com­plete blood counts (CBCs), which mea­sure your blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin. 

How­ev­er, read­ing your com­pre­hen­sive meta­bol­ic pan­el results can be con­fus­ing and over­whelm­ing. Here’s how to inter­pret your CMP results and what they might say about your health. 

How to Read Your Com­pre­hen­sive Meta­bol­ic Pan­el Results 

When you receive your CMP results, you’ll see 14 spe­cif­ic sub­stances, along with a num­ber. This shows how much of each sub­stance is in your blood. Using this num­ber — along with the nor­mal range of that sub­stance — your health­care provider can find, diag­nose, and man­age treat­ment for health conditions. 

Sub­stance

Pur­pose

Nor­mal Range

  1. Albu­min

A pro­tein made by your liv­er. It moves sub­stances (like hor­mones and med­ica­tion) through your blood­stream and keeps flu­id in your blood vessels. 

3.4 to 5.4 g/​dL 

  1. o 54 g/​L)
  1. ALP (alka­line phosphatase) 

An enzyme found in your kid­neys, liv­er, and bones. Its exact func­tion isn’t known, but it’s con­nect­ed with health con­di­tions like tis­sue dam­age and prob­lems with bod­i­ly processes. 

  1. o 130 U/L
  1. ALT (ala­nine aminotransferase) 

An enzyme found pri­mar­i­ly in your liv­er and is used to assess the health of your liv­er.

  1. to 36 U/L
  1. AST (aspar­tate aminotransferase) 

An enzyme found in the liv­er, mus­cles, and heart and is used to assess the health of your liver. 

  1. to 33 U/L
  1. BUN (blood urea nitrogen) 

A nor­mal waste prod­uct that your kid­neys fil­ter out of your blood. If kid­ney func­tion slows, BUN lev­els can go up. 

6 to 20 mg/​dL (2.14 to 7.14 mmol/​L)

  1. Chlo­ride

An elec­trolyte that helps con­trol flu­id in your body. 

96 to 106 mEq/​L (96 to 106 mmol/​L)

  1. CO2 (car­bon dioxide) 

An elec­trolyte that helps con­trol flu­id in your body. 

23 to 29 mEq/​L (23 to 29 mmol/​L)

  1. Cre­a­ti­nine

A nor­mal waste prod­uct of mus­cle activ­i­ty. Too much of it can indi­cate prob­lems with your kidneys. 

0.6 to 1.3 mg/​dL (53 to 114.9 µmol/​L)

  1. Glu­cose (sug­ar)

A type of sug­ar that pro­vides ener­gy for your brain and body. High glu­cose lev­els can be a sign of diabetes. 

70 to 100 mg/​dL (3.9 to 5.6 mmol/​L)

  1. Potas­si­um

A min­er­al that helps your heart beat reg­u­lar­ly and mus­cles work properly. 

3.7 to 5.2 mEq/​L (3.70 to 5.20 mmol/​L)

  1. Sodi­um

A min­er­al found in many foods. A buildup of sodi­um can indi­cate kid­ney problems. 

135 to 145 mEq/​L (135 to 145 mmol/​L)

  1. Serum cal­ci­um

A min­er­al (which is most­ly stored in your bones, but also in your blood) that helps with blood clot­ting, main­tain­ing a reg­u­lar heart­beat, and nerve function. 

8.5 to 10.2 mg/​dL (2.13 to 2.55 mmol/​L)

  1. Total biliru­bin

A nor­mal waste prod­uct made from break­ing down red blood cells. A buildup of biliru­bin can indi­cate liv­er problems. 

0.1 to 1.2 mg/​dL (2 to 21 µmol/​L)

  1. Total pro­tein

Mol­e­cules that help your body heal, build mus­cle, fight infec­tions, and stay healthy. 

6.0 to 8.3 g/​dL (60 to 83 g/​L)

What if One of the Sub­stances in My CMP is Out of the Nor­mal Range? 

A com­pre­hen­sive meta­bol­ic pan­el is designed to give an overview of your health. If one or more CMP results are abnor­mal, it might point to health con­di­tions, like liv­er dis­ease, kid­ney dis­ease, dia­betes, or high blood pres­sure

How­ev­er, a high or low num­ber is not always an indi­ca­tion of a prob­lem on its own. Usu­al­ly, fur­ther test­ing needs to be done if one of the sub­stance lev­els falls out­side the nor­mal range. 

If you have ques­tions about your CMP, talk to your health­care provider. They can explain what your num­bers mean and what they might reveal about your health. 

Is it time for your annu­al phys­i­cal and com­pre­hen­sive meta­bol­ic pan­el? Sched­ule an appoint­ment with a Duly Pri­ma­ry Care Provider today. 

Com­pre­hen­sive Meta­bol­ic Pan­els: A Win­dow Into Your Health 

CMPs are a great way to keep an eye on your health by detect­ing or mon­i­tor­ing health con­di­tions. They give a view of what’s hap­pen­ing in your body and whether process­es are occur­ring as they should — all with a sim­ple blood test. 

Along with oth­er screen­ing tests and reg­u­lar health check­ups, CMPs help you and your provider stay on top of your health now and for years to come.

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