According to Lab Tests Online, "The Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) is a frequently ordered panel of tests that gives your doctor important information about the current status of your kidneys, blood sugar and electrolyte and acid/base balance." There are eight tests in the BMP, and it should be done after an overnight fast.
The first four tests in the BMP are called electrolytes, and they consist of the blood sodium level, the blood potassium level, the blood chloride level and the blood carbon dioxide level.
The four elements work together to balance the acid-base concentrations in the blood. The body operates most efficiently at a very narrow pH balance of 7.35 to 7.45, as measured by a pH meter. Any imbalance in one of the four electrolytes can alter the blood pH.
The blood glucose found in the BMP is a measurement of how well the body is processing fuel needs. All cells use glucose for energy. A high fasting level of blood sugar can indicate the metabolic condition known as diabetes, states Lab Tests Online. The reference range for a normal fasting blood glucose is 70 to 99 mg/dL, with a repeated level of greater than 126 mg/dL indicating diabetes.
Two of the tests analyzed in the BMP are kidney-related. They are called BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine. The kidneys produce stable amounts of BUN and creatinine depending on the functioning ability of a kidney or the kidneys. High levels of BUN and creatinine indicate serious dysfunction of the kidneys. Doctors may also use a fasting BMP including these analytes to monitor drug therapy or dialysis.
The blood calcium level may or may not be included in the BMP. Normal total calcium levels in adults range from 9.0 to 10.5 mg/dL. High or low levels may indicate problems with metabolism, bone disease, issues with kidney functions and some nerve disorders.
The BMP is a good overall monitor of healthy metabolism. It is a quick lab test that many doctors use for an indication of what to test for next. The BMP is generally included in a yearly checkup.