CMP - Comprehensive Metabolic Panel


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Includes liver and kidney function, glucose and electrolytes

The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a blood test that measures several substances in your blood, including electrolytes, proteins, glucose, and liver and kidney function markers. It is often used to help diagnose and monitor a variety of medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. The test is usually done as part of a routine health evaluation or to check for potential health problems. The results of the CMP are usually reported as a series of numbers, with a reference range indicating the normal values for each substance measured. It is important to note that the interpretation of a comp metabolic panel may vary depending on the individual's medical history and other factors. A healthcare provider should be consulted to interpret the test results correctly. Tests included:

  • Glucose
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Carbon Dioxide
  •  Calcium
  •  Protein
  • Albumin
  • Alanine transaminase (ALT)
  • Aspartate transaminase (AST)
  • Bilirubin
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
  •  Creatinine
  • eGFR

The comp metabolic panel or CMP panel consists of 14 blood tests that are an initial medical screening tool to review overall health. The CMP blood test panel checks for kidney function, liver function, and electrolyte and fluid balance. FASTING IS REQUIRED. These are the tests included:

CMP Discount Labs

1.     Sodium (Na)

Sodium is one of the body's principal minerals, regulated by the kidneys. It plays a vital role in maintaining water balance in your body. Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive perspiration are all potential causes of low sodium levels. Dehydration, an excessive salt intake in your diet, or certain diseases can all contribute to a high level. Numerous drugs, including diuretics, certain blood pressure medications, and steroids, may alter the sodium level.

2.     Potassium (K)

Potassium is one of the body's principal minerals, primarily inside cells. It helps maintain water balance and the proper function of nerves and muscles. Your healthcare provider should assess any low or high levels in the blood because they are of critical importance. This is especially important if you are taking a diuretic or heart medication. A high level may indicate kidney or liver disease, too much medication, or bodily injury, such as a burn. A low potassium level can develop rapidly, most frequently as a side effect of drugs that cause increased urination.

3.     Chloride (C)

Chloride is one of the body's minerals involved with water balance. Most body chloride comes from salt in the diet. A high chloride level may mean severe dehydration, certain kidney disorders, or hyperventilation. A low chloride level may result from excessive vomiting, diarrhea, severe burns, excessive sweating, or kidney failure. Borderline low or high levels of chloride have very little significance.

4.     Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

In the body, most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) is in the form of a substance called bicarbonate (HCO3). Therefore, the CO2 blood test measures your blood bicarbonate level. Changes in your CO2 level may suggest that you lose or retain fluid, which causes an imbalance in your body's electrolytes. Kidney and lung function have an impact on CO2 levels in the blood. The kidneys are mainly responsible for maintaining normal bicarbonate levels. The CO2 level is interpreted with other results to aid in medical diagnoses.

5.     Albumin (Alb)

Albumin is the most significant portion of total blood protein. Modest decreases in albumin may be seen in people with low thyroid gland function and protein-losing conditions. Decreased blood albumin may indicate many disorders, including poor nutrition and advanced liver disease.

6.     Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)

Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found primarily in bone and the liver. Gallstones may be the cause of a blocked bile duct, which frequently results in an increase in it. Elevated levels may indicate the presence of bone or liver disorders.

7.     Bilirubin (Bil) Total

Bilirubin is the primary pigment in bile and a significant product of normal red cell breakdown. It helps evaluate liver function and various anemias, as well as jaundice and yellowing of the skin.

8.     Aspartate Transaminase (AST)

Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme in the liver and cardiac and skeletal muscle. AST may rise in liver, heart, and muscle disorders. It can also increase following strenuous, prolonged exercise.

9.   Transaminase (ALT)

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is an enzyme produced primarily in the liver, skeletal muscle, and heart muscle. ALT rises in cases of liver disease. ALT is present in the liver in a higher concentration than AST and is more specific for differentiating liver injury from muscle damage.

10.  Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)

Urea, measured as blood urea nitrogen (BUN), is a waste product derived from the natural breakdown of protein in the liver. Urea is excreted in the urine after blood is filtered through the kidneys. The urea nitrogen level reflects protein metabolism and the kidneys' effectiveness in purifying blood.

The BUN/creatinine ratio is calculated by dividing the urea nitrogen result by the creatinine result. This ratio can help determine whether elevated urea nitrogen is due to impaired kidney function or other factors such as dehydration, urinary blockage, or excessive blood loss.

Just so you know, if BUN and creatinine results are within the normal reference range, the BUN/creatinine ratio will not be reported (not applicable). Clinical Significance: The BUN/creatinine ratio is helpful in the differential diagnosis of acute or chronic renal disease.

11.  Total Protein

Urea, measured as blood urea nitrogen (BUN), is a waste product derived from the natural breakdown of protein in the liver. Urea is excreted in the urine after blood is filtered through the kidneys. The urea nitrogen level reflects protein metabolism and the kidneys' effectiveness in purifying blood.

12.  Calcium (Ca)

Calcium is one of the most critical elements in the body. It is essential for maintaining and repairing bones and teeth, heart function, muscle function, and blood clotting. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in your body is contained in your bones, and only one percent is in the blood. Although most of the calcium in the body is in the bones, the body regulates blood calcium levels very tightly since its functions are essential to health and performance.

13.  Creatinine (Cr) with calculated eGFR

Creatinine is derived from muscles and released into the blood. The kidneys remove it from the body. When the creatinine level is elevated, a decrease in kidney function is suggested. For patients 50 years of age and older who identify as African-American, the upper reference range for creatinine is approximately 10-15% higher.

Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) is a test for kidney damage. eGFR is calculated using your serum creatinine result, age, and gender. Creatinine is not sensitive to early renal impairment since it varies with age, gender, and ethnic background. If you are African American, your eGFR is estimated differently. Since race is not reported in this screening, you will need to use the written result associated with your race. To get an African American-specific result, you can multiply this result by 1.21 to get your true eGFR. The same reference ranges will apply.

14.  Glucose

Glucose (“blood sugar”) is the chief energy source for all cells in the body. Your pancreas produces hormones, including insulin, that control glucose levels. A glucose level outside the optimal range could signify that the body is not correctly creating or using insulin. These conditions are hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), prediabetes (elevated blood sugar), and diabetes (high blood sugar). For the most accurate result, you should fast (not eat or drink anything but water) for at least 8 hours before your screening. If you were not fasting at the time of your screening, you should interpret your result against an optimal range of less than 140 mg/dL.

When the doctor looks at your report of the CMP blood test panel, he organizes it in his mind according to body systems or possible diseases. The sodium, potassium, chloride, and total carbon dioxide measure the salt and acid-base balance of the body. The glucose level is how we diagnose diabetes. The BUN, Creatinine, and BUN to Creatinine ratio tell us how the kidneys function and can give us an idea about water balance and possible heart function. Calcium and phosphorus provide information on a possible endocrine disorder called hyperparathyroidism and can give information on possible bone disease and malabsorption. The total protein, albumin, and globulin can point to a liver problem, a kidney problem, or an immune disorder. The total direct bilirubin can be abnormal in liver disease and some blood diseases. The alkaline phosphatase, AST, and ALT can be irregular in liver disease.

What Tests Are Included in a Complete Metabolic Profile (CMP)?

Now let's go over the CMP blood tests in somewhat more detail.

The Serum Glucose test is how we diagnose diabetes. If the glucose is 126 on a fasting blood draw, meaning the blood was drawn first thing in the morning after an overnight fast, before you ate any breakfast, then you have diabetes. Now, that's assuming that when we repeat the test, we get the same results. It needs to be abnormal more than once.

The Uric Acid test is used to diagnose gout.

The BUN, Blood Urea Nitrogen, can be abnormal in kidney disease, dehydration, heart failure, malnutrition, and liver disease.

Serum Creatinine is a measure of kidney function. The BUN to Creatinine ratio can give information on the possible cause of kidney dysfunction, say heart failure, dehydration, or decreased kidney blood flow.

Serum Sodium can be increased by dehydration. Low sodium can be caused by diuretic therapy, and the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone is abbreviated SIADH. Serum Potassium can be increased in adrenal insufficiency and acute renal failure, as well as with an improper combination of medicines. Potassium could be decreased in primary aldosteronism, diuretic therapy, and renal tubular acidosis.

Serum Chloride can be increased in dehydration and renal tubular acidosis, and it can be decreased in congestive heart failure and primary aldosteronism. Carbon Dioxide can be increased in primary pulmonary diseases, such as severe COPD and primary aldosteronism. It can be decreased in metabolic acidoses, such as diabetic ketoacidosis.

Serum Calcium can be increased in an endocrine disease called primary hyperthyroidism. It can also be an increase in malignancy. However, most of the time, when a person has a high Serum Calcium found unexpectedly, it's simply due to hyperparathyroidism, which can be treated. We can also have decreased Serum Calcium in hypoparathyroidism and vitamin D deficiency.

The Serum Phosphorus can be increased in acute or chronic renal failure and decreased in malabsorption and vitamin D deficiency.

The total Serum Protein can be increased in multiple myeloma and sarcoidosis, and it can be decreased in chronic glomerulonephritis, a type of chronic renal disease.

Serum Albumin can be decreased in liver disease, cirrhosis, and nephrotic syndrome. The total Globulin and the Albumin to Globulin ratio can be increased or decreased due to several causes.

The total Bilirubin can be increased in hepatitis, hemolytic anemia, and blockage of the bile ducts, either the bile ducts within the liver or the bile duct that drains the gallbladder and the liver. That's what we mean when we say cholestasis or biliary obstruction. Direct Bilirubin is increased in the same things as total Bilirubin, but the ratio of direct to total gives us clues as to the causes. A syndrome called Gilbert's disease is one of the most common causes of a mildly elevated total Bilirubin found on a routine CMP. Although it's called a disease, it's familiar and doesn't cause any liver or health damage.

Alkaline Phosphatase can be increased in bone and liver disease and decreased in malnutrition and celiac disease.

The AST and ALT are often called liver enzyme tests. They don't measure liver function but give evidence of liver damage, but they can also cause damage to other body parts. They can be increased by liver disease, muscle disease, pancreatitis, and excessive exercise.

More Details on Liver Function Tests

Liver function tests, also known as the hepatic panel, are laboratory tests that help measure how well the liver works. The liver carries out many vital bodily functions; when it is not working properly, levels of various enzymes, proteins, and other substances in the blood may rise or fall. Elevated liver enzyme levels may be a sign of liver damage from conditions like viral hepatitis, excessive alcohol consumption, or drug toxicity.

Alanine transaminase (ALT): formerly called SGPT, ALT is an enzyme usually present in liver cells. When these cells are damaged, ALT is released into the bloodstream. A normal ALT level for adult men is 0–50 international units per liter (IU/L); levels are somewhat lower in women. While mild elevations are common (especially in people who exercise), an ALT level more than 2.5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) is cause for concern. In general, upward or downward trends in ALT are more informative than a single measurement.

Aspartate transaminase (AST): formerly called SGOT, AST is another liver enzyme that may spill into the blood when liver cells are damaged. A normal AST level for adult men is 0-45 IU/L. AST levels may also be elevated in people with muscle damage.

Bilirubin: bilirubin is a pigment released when red blood cells are broken down. A normal bilirubin level is 0.1-1.5 mg/dL.An elevated level (hyperbilirubinemia) may indicate liver damage, impaired bile flow, or excessive red blood cell destruction. High bilirubin levels can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

Alkaline phosphatase (AP): elevated AP levels may signal obstructed bile flow or bone destruction. A normal level is 35-115 IU/L.

More Details on Kidney Function Tests

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN): nitrogen is a metabolic waste product usually filtered out by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. A normal BUN is 8-20 mg/dL. Elevations may indicate kidney dysfunction, high protein intake, or a fluid body imbalance (e.g., dehydration).

 Creatinine: this waste product of protein metabolism, is also normally excreted by the kidneys. A normal blood creatinine level is 0.6-1.5 mg/dL. Elevated creatinine levels may indicate kidney damage. Creatinine is used in calculating creatinine clearance (creatinine clearance below 60 may display impaired kidney function).

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Test FAQ

Now that you know what a CMP panel contains, let’s find answers to some of your questions.

1. How Can I Do the CMP Panel Test?

The test is done using a single blood sample. You go to a clinic and draw blood, which will be analyzed in a medical laboratory. The doctors will perform the tests above to determine the levels of each substance in your bloodstream. You get the results back in a few business days, and you can compare them against standard reference values.

2. Is the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Test painful?

In most cases, it's not, but it depends on whether you have a fear of needles or not. Today's doctors are very efficient at drawing blood, so you might not even feel the sting when the needle enters your vein.

3. What If Some Variables or Enzymes Are Out of Normal Ranges?

Once the results are back, and some substances are off the charts, you can go to your healthcare provider for recommendations. If you have high glucose levels, your doctor might recommend starting an exercise regimen, which can increase insulin sensitivity and prevents diabetes.

You might need to eat more dairy products if your calcium levels are low. Avoid salty foods if your sodium levels are high. These recommendations are based on the specific results of each, so there’s no one-size-fits-all here—more information about what to do when you have low or high blood level values.

4. Do I Need to Fast Before Doing the Test?

Yes, fasting is mandatory for glucose level testing. Before doing this test, you should avoid eating or drinking anything other than water for 10–12 hours. 

5. Why Should I Do This Test?

It’s essential to do the test to get a broad overview of the electrolytes and enzymes in your body. If some substances are not in the normal ranges of the comprehensive metabolic panel, you can take action and prevent more severe health complications. Plus, the test is affordable, quick, and easy to do, so why not take advantage of it?

6. How Can I Read and Interpret My Results?

The comprehensive metabolic panel normal ranges are published online, and you can find them with a simple Google search. You can also ask your doctor to interpret the results for you, as well as check out this engaging CMP guide on reading your COMP metabolic panel.

Ready to Take the Test?

The CMP comprehensive metabolic panel provides one of the best ways to take control of your health. You can order the CMP test online from and find out how healthy you are in just a few business days, so why not try it?




  1. Go to the "Find a Location" page to find the closest lab location. No need to make an appointment since walk-ins are welcomed. Once you have identified your closest location, go to step 2.

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  7. Print lab request form that you downloaded.

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    If you have further questions, please email [email protected].

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