If you have ever had your blood tested, you may have heard your doctor discuss a “CMP” or a “BMP” lab test. These two blood tests are similar in that they both test for substances in the blood related to metabolism. This guide examines the CMP and BMP blood tests and the differences between them.
What is a CMP?
CMP stands for Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. A CMP tests for 14 different substances in the blood, including:
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST or SGOT)
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT)
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
- Carbon dioxide
- Total Protein
CMP Blood Test
The first eight substances listed above are also part of the BMP test. The CMP Blood test detects additional substances that help evaluate liver and kidney health.
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST or SGOT) is a liver enzyme that may indicate liver damage.
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT) is a liver enzyme that can indicate liver damage.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a type of liver enzyme that can help evaluate for liver or bone issues.
- Total protein looks at the overall protein levels in the body.
- Albumin helps to evaluate kidney and liver function.
- Bilirubin is created by the liver when red blood cells dissolve, so it can help to indicate if the liver is functioning correctly.
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What is BMP?
BMP stands for Basic Metabolic Panel. BMPs test for 8 of the same 14 substances that CMP tests for; including:
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
- Carbon dioxide
BMP Blood Test
A BMP is typically used to evaluate electrolyte balance, blood sugar, and how the body filters blood. The BMP test gives a general metabolism overview. The components of a BMP assess the body in the following ways:
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): This value measures the amount of urea nitrogen in your blood, representing kidney health.
- Carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide is typically expelled from the body when you breathe. Abnormal carbon dioxide levels may indicate an issue with the lungs or kidneys.
- Potassium: another vital electrolyte for fluid balance and can also give an idea of cardiac function.
- Creatinine: when kidneys are healthy, they filter creatinine out of the blood. Looking at creatinine levels helps to evaluate kidney function. When creatinine levels are high, the kidneys may not be functioning correctly.
- Chloride: Chloride levels can help your doctor evaluate lung and kidney health and acid-base balance.
- Glucose: Glucose is another name for sugar. By looking at glucose levels, your doctor can know if your blood sugar levels are running higher or lower than they should be.
- Calcium: Calcium helps evaluate kidney, bone, and thyroid health.
- Sodium: This electrolyte helps your doctor understand your body’s fluid balance.
Differences between CMP and BMP
Both the CMP and BMP give a good picture of your metabolic health. However, A CMP looks closer at levels that evaluate liver function. A BMP is a more general test that can help evaluate kidney or heart function issues.
When are CMP and BMP ordered?
Some common reasons for a BMP may include the following:
- Evaluating kidney function
- Evaluating blood sugar balance
- Looking at the electrolyte balance in the body
- Looking at the acid-base balance (pH) in the blood
A CMP may be helpful for many of the same reasons as a BMP. If your doctor has concerns about your liver function or wants to get a closer look at your health by testing for additional substances in the blood, they may order a CMP instead of a BMP.
Preparing for the CMP and BMP
You may be required to fast for eight hours to prepare for a CMP or BMP blood test. Fasting means refraining from eating or drinking anything, or, in some instances, you may be able to drink water. Due to the potential fasting requirement, scheduling this type of test early in the morning is recommended to accommodate an overnight fast and get the test done first thing in the morning.
Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions regarding your preparation for the blood test. When testing is time, you can expect a small needle to stick in one of your veins. Usually, this will be in the crease of your arm, opposite the elbow. A nurse will place a needle into your veins and quickly draw a small vial of blood.
When it comes to comparing CMP vs BMP blood tests, the two are very similar. The primary difference is that a CMP tests for a few more values than a BMP, which can give your doctor a complete picture of your overall health, including liver health. If you are concerned or have any questions regarding your regular blood work, talk with your doctor about these concerns. Understanding what each test looks at is essential to fully comprehend the methods and reasoning behind your testing.
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Lab Testing - Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to do lab tests occasionally?
It is important to do lab tests occasionally because they can provide valuable information about an individual's health and help to identify potential health issues early on. Lab tests can measure a wide range of factors, including blood count, cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and hormone levels, and can provide insight into an individual's overall health and wellness. Additionally, lab tests can help to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and can help to identify any potential health risks or concerns. By doing lab tests occasionally, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of potential health problems in the future.
How accurate are lab tests?
Overall, lab tests are generally considered to be accurate and reliable, but there is always a chance of error and it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to interpret the results.
How is a blood sample collected for lab testing?
A blood sample for lab testing is typically collected through a process called venipuncture, which involves inserting a small needle into a vein to draw blood. This is usually done on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.
What does a routine blood test cover?
A routine blood test is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. Blood tests can also be used to check how well certain organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are functioning.
What does routine lab work cover?
Routine lab work typically includes a blood test, which is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. In addition to a blood test, routine lab work may also include other tests, such as urine and stool tests, which can help diagnose and monitor conditions related to the kidneys, liver, and digestive system.
Can a blood test identify cancer?
In some cases, cancer can be detected with a blood test. However, not all cancers can be detected with a blood test, and some blood tests can produce false-positive or false-negative results.
Can a blood test find other particular issues like problems with the heart, liver, or kidneys?
Yes, a blood test can sometimes be used to detect heart, liver, and kidney problems. Blood tests can also be used to measure the levels of certain substances in your blood, such as cholesterol and glucose, which can help diagnose and monitor conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition, a blood test can check your blood count, which can provide information about the health of your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. However, it is important to note that a blood test is not always able to detect heart, liver, and kidney problems, and other tests, such as imaging scans or biopsies, may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
What distinguishes a diagnostic test from a screening test?
A screening test is a type of test that is used to identify people who may be at increased risk of a particular condition, such as cancer or heart disease. In contrast, a diagnostic test is a type of test that is used to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis. So, the main difference between a screening test and a diagnostic test is the purpose for which the test is being performed.
Why do lab tests occasionally need to be repeated?
One common reason is that the initial test results were inconclusive or unclear, and repeating the test can help provide more accurate results. Lab tests may also be repeated if the initial results were abnormal and more information is needed to diagnose or monitor a condition. In addition, some lab tests are designed to be repeated on a regular basis, such as to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment or to check for any changes in a person's health over time. Finally, lab tests may be repeated if the initial test was performed incorrectly, or if there was some other problem with the sample that was collected.
Does having normal lab test results indicate I shouldn't worry about anything?
Having normal lab test results does not necessarily mean that you have nothing to worry about. Additionally, lab tests are not always able to detect all health conditions, and some conditions may not produce abnormal test results until they have progressed to a more advanced stage.
What should I do after I have my lab test results?
After you have your lab test results, it is always best to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will be able to interpret the results in the context of your overall health and medical history, and they will be able to recommend any necessary follow-up tests or treatments.
What is the cost of a lab test?
In general, the cost of a lab test can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a lab test.
How is a blood sample for a lab test collected?
A blood sample for a lab test is typically collected through a process called venipuncture. This involves using a needle and syringe to draw blood from a vein, typically in the arm. The skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a tourniquet is placed around the upper arm to help make the veins more visible. The healthcare provider performing the venipuncture will then insert the needle into a vein and collect the required amount of blood. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing.
Should I do anything to prepare for lab tests?
It is generally a good idea to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine what, if any, preparations are necessary for your lab tests. In general, it is a good idea to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare provider, such as fasting for a certain amount of time before the test or avoiding certain medications. It is also a good idea to bring a list of all medications you are currently taking to your lab appointment.
Why is it necessary to fast before some tests?
Fasting before certain lab tests is often necessary because certain substances in the blood, such as glucose and certain fats, can affect the results of the test. By fasting, you are allowing your body to metabolize these substances, which can provide more accurate test results. Additionally, some tests require that you fast in order to properly prepare your body for the test.
Will a cup of coffee before my lab test mess with the results?
Whether or not you can have a cup of coffee before your test will depend on the specific test that you are undergoing and any instructions provided by your healthcare provider. If you are unsure about whether or not you can have a cup of coffee before your test, it is always best to ask your healthcare provider for advice.
Can my lab test get affected by diet or medications?
Yes, your diet and medications can affect the results of your lab tests.
What do the lab test results mean?
The specific meaning of your lab test results will depend on the specific test that was performed and the reference range provided by the laboratory. The reference range is the range of values that is considered normal for a healthy person, and it is used to interpret the results of your lab test. If your test results fall within the reference range, it generally means that there is nothing unusual or concerning about your test results. However, if your test results are outside of the reference range, it may indicate a potential health concern that should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Where are the reference (normal) ranges for lab tests?
The reference ranges for lab tests, also known as normal ranges, are determined by the laboratory that performs the test. These ranges are based on a large number of test results from healthy individuals, and they are used to interpret the results of your lab test. The reference range for each test is typically provided on the laboratory report along with your test results.
What if my lab test result is outside the reference range?
If your lab test result is outside of the reference range, it may indicate a potential health concern that should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Additionally, the reference range is just a general guide, and there may be other factors that can affect your test results.
How can I improve my lab test results?
There are several steps you can take to improve your lab test results. First, it is important to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare provider when preparing for a lab test, such as fasting for a certain amount of time before the test or avoiding certain medications. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help improve your lab test results. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking. If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to manage it properly and follow your healthcare provider's recommendations for treatment.
Does having abnormal lab test results indicate that I have a health issue?
Having abnormal lab test results does not necessarily mean that you have a health issue. There are many factors that can affect the accuracy of lab test results, such as your diet, medications, and other medical conditions. Additionally, the reference range used to interpret your test results is just a general guide, and there may be other factors that can affect your test results.