Basic Metabolic Panel

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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 blood urea nitrogen (BUN), calcium, carbon dioxide, chloride, creatinine, glucose, potassium, and sodium.

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


Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th 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.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine

Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014