What Is a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel?

These tests can tell your doctor a lot about your health

Vials of Blood
Laboratory technician holding test tubes containing blood samples. Medic Image/Getty Images

A metabolic workup, also called a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), is a set of 14 blood tests which can give your doctor valuable information about the health of your kidneys and liver, A CMP also tests blood sugar, blood proteins, and your body's electrolytes.

The workup—which goes by many names, including a chemistry panel and a metabolic panel—can be helpful in pinning down what's causing any illness or disease you may be experiencing.

These tests can also help monitor a chronic disease such as high blood pressure or kidney disease. Typically your doctor will order a metabolic panel as part of your yearly exam. The blood sample used for the CMP is usually taken after a 10 to 12 hour fast in order to accurately test your blood sugar. 

Which Tests Are Included?

Tests included in a metabolic workup are:

  • Blood sugar (glucose)
  • Albumin (a blood protein)
  • Total blood protein
  • Electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, and carbon dioxide
  • Kidney tests: BUN, creatinine
  • Liver function tests: ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine amino transferase, also called SGPT), AST (aspartate amino transferase, also called SGOT), and bilirubin

As part of a metabolic workup, your doctor may order additional blood tests such as:

  • Vitamin B12 level
  • Ammonia (ammonium ion test)

What is a Cholesterol Test?

A complete cholesterol test—also called a lipid panel or lipid profile—is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body (atherosclerosis).

High cholesterol levels usually don't cause any signs or symptoms, so a cholesterol test is an important tool. High cholesterol levels often are a significant risk factor for heart disease. A complete cholesterol test is done to determine whether your cholesterol is high and estimate your risk of developing heart disease.

A complete cholesterol test, referred to as a lipid panel or lipid profile, includes the calculation of four types of fats (lipids) in your blood:

  • Total cholesterol. This is a sum of your blood's cholesterol content.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This is sometimes called the "good" cholesterol because it helps carry away LDL cholesterol, thus keeping arteries open and your blood flowing more freely.
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is sometimes called the "bad" cholesterol. Too much of it in your blood causes the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries (atherosclerosis), which reduces blood flow. These plaques sometimes rupture and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
  • Triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells. High triglyceride levels are associated with several factors, including being overweight, eating too many sweets or drinking too much alcohol, smoking, being sedentary, or having diabetes with elevated blood sugar levels.

    References:

    "Comprehensive Metabolic Panel." Lab Tests Online. 18 Mar 2009. American Association for Clinical Chemistry. 17 Jul 2009

    Mayo Clinic. Cholesterol Test.

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