A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP; also called a chem 14, chemistry panel, chemistry screen, or metabolic panel) is a type of blood test used to measure 14 different substances in your blood. It gives you and your doctor important information related to your body’s chemical balance and metabolism. Metabolism is the process in which your body turns food into energy.
This article will describe what a comprehensive metabolic panel shows, how it works when to get one, and the potential benefits of this panel. It will also compare in-home lab tests versus going to a clinic to get a metabolic panel.
What does a CMP show?
A CMP will measure glucose, which is a type of sugar that is your body’s primary energy source.
It will also check your levels of calcium, which is a vital nutrient that ensures that your heart, muscles, and nerves function correctly.
Carbon dioxide, chloride, potassium, and sodium are also measured. These electrolytes manage fluid balance and the balance of acids and bases in your body.
Albumin is included in a CMP as well. It is a protein that is made by your liver. It is the main component of blood plasma.
A CMP also measures the total amount of protein in your blood.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine transaminase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) are enzymes that are made by your liver. ALP helps break down proteins. ALT converts alanine into pyruvate, which produces energy in your cells. AST helps metabolize amino acids, and if you have a high level of AST in your blood, it indicates problems with your liver.
Bilirubin, a waste product made by your liver that gets rid of old red blood cells that your body has broken down, is also measured by a metabolic panel.
Finally, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine are also measured. These are waste products that your kidneys remove from your blood.
If you have abnormal levels of any of these or a combination of them, it can signal a serious underlying issue.
CMPs are used to check liver and kidney function, blood glucose levels, and blood protein levels. They also check the balance of acids and bases in your blood, the balance of electrolytes and fluids, and your metabolism. This test can also check for medication side effects.
How does a comprehensive metabolic panel work?
This test involves a medical professional using a small needle to take a blood sample from a vein in your arm. You may feel a slight pinch or sting when the needle goes in. Once the needle is in your vein, the blood sample will be collected into a small vial. You may also feel a slight pinch or sting when the needle comes out, as well. A CMP is usually completed in about five minutes.
When should I get a comprehensive metabolic panel done?
A CMP is often ordered when you have your annual checkup. You might be asked to do a CMP if your doctor thinks you have kidney or liver disease. Although this type of test is usually done once a year, you may need to get it done more regularly if you take medications that can damage your kidneys and liver.
In-home lab tests vs. going to a clinic
You can have this lab test done at home by a trained and licensed nurse if you prefer that option over going to a clinic. This option is especially helpful if you are afraid of needles or have anxiety about blood tests. Being in a comfortable, familiar environment for this test can put you more at ease. Additionally, you will not need to travel anywhere, which saves you time and money.