Basic Metabolic Panel

Topic Overview

A basic metabolic panel is a blood test that measures your sugar (glucose) level, electrolyte and fluid balance, and kidney function.

Glucose is a type of sugar your body uses for energy. Electrolytes keep your body's fluids in balance. They also help keep your body working normally, including your heart rhythm, muscle contraction, and brain function. The kidneys help keep the right balance of water, salts, and minerals in the blood. Kidneys also filter out waste and other unneeded substances from the blood.

If you take any medicines, such as diuretics for high blood pressure, your doctor may order a basic metabolic panel to see if the medicines are affecting your kidneys or your electrolytes. Your doctor also may order this panel as part of a regular health examination or to help diagnose a medical condition.

This panel measures the blood levels of sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, carbon dioxide, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine. For more information, see the topics:

You may be asked to stop eating and drinking for 10 to 12 hours before you have this blood test.

Related Information

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised June 16, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker