December 7, 2023
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Why Do You Need a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)?

comprehensive metabolic panel

A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a group of blood tests that are used to assess your overall health conditions. The health of a person depends on the levels of different substances that relate to each other. By monitoring the amount of these substances, a provider may be able to screen and observe your health and detect any diseases or disorders before they go to the worst. In this article, you will learn about the comprehensive metabolic panel with their normal ranges.  

What is a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)? 

A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a blood test that helps to measure 14 different components in your blood. The CMP test gives information to your healthcare provider about the function of the liver and kidney and electrolytes. Healthcare providers recommend CMP at least once a year as a routine checkup. You may need to identify specific health problems (diabetes or high blood pressure), monitor long-term conditions, or determine the side effects of particular medications that may damage your kidneys or liver. 

Through the measurement of 14 different substances, the CMP can be used to evaluate the following in your body that includes:

  • The health of the liver and kidney
  • Blood sugar amounts
  • Acid-base balance in the blood
  • Electrolyte balance
  • Blood protein levels
  • Calcium levels
  • Fluid balance

How many tests are included in a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)? 

A CMP helps to measure the levels of these substances in your blood:

Glucose. Glucose is the essential substance and type of sugar that provides energy to your body. Glucose is also called blood sugar. It develops when the digestive system breaks carbohydrates and converts them into glucose. This glucose mixes with blood and moves throughout your body to reach each cell of the body. A hormone known as insulin keeps glucose levels in your blood besides transferring the sugar from your blood into the body’s cells. 

High glucose levels are often seen after a meal but decrease with time. High blood sugar levels for a larger period may indicate damage in your eye, kidney, and blood vessels. You may experience type 1 or type 2 diabetes. 

Calcium. Calcium is one of the leading minerals for your body, specifically bones, and teeth. Calcium is required for your muscles, nerves, and heart function. Most calcium is present in your bones. Very little calcium is available in your blood. High or low calcium levels can indicate bone, kidney, or thyroid disease. 

Albumin. Albumin is the protein that develops in your liver. It helps to bind blood and body fluids in your blood vessels. Blood and fluid cannot come outside the blood vessels. Albumin also transports hormones, vitamins, enzymes, and other components throughout your body You may experience kidney damage or failure due to the leakage of albumin into your urine, which results in low albumin levels in the blood. 

Total Protein. This tells the total amount of protein in your blood, which includes albumin and globulin. Globulins are included in your immune system and help to prevent your body against infections. It also clots your blood. Abnormal total protein levels in the blood may show kidney or liver disease. 

Creatinine. Creatinine is a product obtained from regular muscular activity. It is a waste substance your kidneys filter and eliminates from your blood. 

Bilirubin.  This substance develops during the breakdown of red blood cells with time. It looks like a yellowish pigment and can be present in bile, which is a substance that decomposes food. High levels of bilirubin may show liver or bile duct problems.

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN). It indicates the amount of urea nitrogen, which is another waste substance. Your kidneys help to remove it from your blood. 

A CMP indicates the amount of these four electrolytes. Electrolytes are the charged minerals that transport an electric charge when dissolved in liquid. Electrolytes help to regulate nerve and muscle function and keep the acid-base (pH) and water balance in your body. 

Sodium. It is a significant mineral that comes from the food you take. It helps to regulate fluid levels and acid-base balance in your body. Sodium is also essential in the function of nerves and muscles. Your kidneys help to control sodium amounts in your body. 

Potassium. It includes several functions, such as regulating fluids, maintaining blood pressure, creating a connection between nerve and muscle, and keeping nutrients within cells. 

Bicarbonate. This tells the carbon dioxide levels in your blood. 

Chloride. It functions besides sodium, potassium, and bicarbonate to regulate different processes in your body. 

A CMP blood test also indicates the amount of three liver enzymes (substances that work as a catalyst in a particular body process). These liver enzymes include:

When does a healthcare provider recommend CMP? 

A healthcare provider may recommend a comprehensive metabolic panel in different possible scenarios, such as:

  • If you have symptoms of diabetes, high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease
  • If you have already received abnormal test results recently. A healthcare provider will ask you to repeat the test to check whether the levels are changed.
  • If you have ongoing treatment for a particular medical condition. You may need to take this test to see the effectiveness of the treatment. 
  • If you are taking medication that may disturb your liver or kidney function. 

Request an online order for a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

Difference between CMP and BMP 

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) measures eight different substances instead of 14 and does not contain liver and protein tests. A healthcare provider may suggest the BMP or CMP test that depends on your medical history and health conditions. Both these tests are routine blood tests. 

Is fasting required for a comprehensive metabolic panel? 

A CMP blood test requires fasting (avoiding eating or drinking) for at least 9 to 12 hours before the test. It helps to show glucose levels rather than the sugars which you take. Your healthcare provider will inform you of any specific preparation required for this test. 

What happens during the procedure of a comprehensive metabolic panel? 

Following is the step-by-step procedure of the CMP blood test to collect your blood sample:

  • You will ask to stay relaxed and calm during the test. A healthcare provider will remove the part of your cloth from one of your veins. 
  • They will find a vein in your arm and clean that portion of the vein. 
  • After that, a small needle will be inserted into a vein in your arm. 
  • The needle will be attached to the test tube to collect blood.
  • A provider will apply a bandage to the vein area. You may have slight pain or discomfort when your provider inserts a needle into your vein. 
  • This procedure takes at least five minutes to complete. 

Risks of CMP Blood Test:

Blood tests are routine tests and helpful in screening and diagnosing a particular medical disease. A CMP blood test does not contain high risks. The low risk includes bruising, bleeding, or tenderness while collecting blood from the vein. 

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Results 

The test ranges for the CMP blood test may vary among laboratories. It is because different labs may use their methods for measurements. A healthcare provider often combines and collects information from individual tests to observe for particular diseases. 

The normal ranges for comprehensive metabolic panel of each substance include:

Test Normal Range
Albumin 3.4 to 5.4 g/dL
Total Protein 6.0 to 8.3 g/dL
Bilirubin 0.1 to 1.2 mg/dL
Creatinine 0.6 to 1.3 mg/dL
Blood urea Nitrogen (BUN)                   6 to 20 mg/dL
Glucose 70 to 100 mg/dL when fasting, below 200 mg/dl when not fasting
Calcium 8.5 to 10.2 mg/dL
Sodium 135 to 145 mEq/L
Potassium 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L
Chloride 96 to 106 mEq/L
Bicarbonate         23 to 29 mEq/L
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) 20 to 130 U/L
Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) 4 to 36 U/L
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 8 to 33 U/L

Measurement units: g/dL (gram/deciliter), mEq/L (milliequivalents per liter)

If any single CMP result or group of test results are not within normal range, it may lead to but not always several medical conditions, such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

You do not always have a medical condition if one of your comprehensive metabolic panel test results does not lie within the normal range. Abnormal results may develop due to different health conditions. These factors include specific medications, improper diet, and particular health conditions that may change your test result. 

If you receive an abnormal test result, your provider may recommend additional testing to check or eliminate a particular diagnosis. You can schedule an online appointment with a provider to discuss your CMP test result. 


A comprehensive metabolic panel is a routine blood test that determines your overall physical health. If you have an abnormal result, it does not always indicate a health problem. Your test result may be affected by other possible factors. You can talk with an online provider to take a particular test to find the reason for the abnormal level. 

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