written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 3/30/2009
In this article, we'll be taking a look at the BMP blood test and what its results mean to you.
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The BMP blood test is easily the most versatile and useful blood test that can be run on you at any given point in your life. BMP stands for Basic Metabolic Panel and it includes an array of tests that give your healthcare professional additional information about your general health.
The BMP test is run to check the condition of your kidneys as well as any acid/base buffering problems that you may have. Eight tests are run concurrently to determine the balance of everything from electrolytes to Creatinine levels. The test is particularly useful because it’s a standardized test with normality ranges that are the same from state to state here in the US.
Glucose levels in the BMP test explain a lot of different sorts problems you may be having, including diabetes and hypo/hyper-glycemia (increased or decreased blood glucose levels). As a matter of fact, as an interesting side note, diabetics run this section of the BMP several times a day on those testing strip machines – it helps them determine whether or not they need to inject themselves with insulin or to keep testing until they do need to.
Another pivotal part of the BMP test is the electrolyte panel that is run along with the test. As a basic biology class will tell you, aside from our basic oxygen, nitrogen and some small portion of other gasses, few things are more important to our bodies functioning properly than potassium, sodium, chloride, bicarbonate, chloride and phosphate. Together, these six cations and anions make sure that you can properly metabolize your food and work properly. Few things can tell a doctor more than a low level of chloride or sodium – not only because they can be indicative of many diseases, but also because they are usually easy to treat with different supplements. However, the CO2 test is useful, but can easily be problematic because something as simple as a little hyperventilation will completely throw the test off.
Of the kidney exams run during the BMP, the BUN test is typically the most useful one. BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen and is extremely useful to find long-lasting kidney diseases. The BUN test is run together with the Creatinine test during the BMP – both being waste products that are filtered out through the kidneys (that’s why this tests for kidney issues).
The BMP is usually run when you get blood taken and is highly informative to both you and your healthcare professional. Make sure to check the results when you get back home and get informed – the ranges that are shown on the results sheet might not be correct. As usual, consult your doctor for more information regarding your results.