One of the most common blood tests healthcare providers order to understand total body health is a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP). A CMP measures 14 different substances in your blood and provides information on your body’s chemical balance and metabolism1. While you’ve likely completed this routine blood test at some point, maybe during an annual physical, do you know why it’s important and what the test results mean?
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy2. The calories you consume from food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs. When it comes to energy, you likely first think of the energy needed to work, exercise, and complete other life activities like cleaning or spending time on hobbies. However, even when you’re at rest, your body still needs energy for the functions you may not think about, like breathing circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells2.
What does a CMP measure?
In addition to metabolism, a CMP looks at several body functions and processes including1:
- Liver and kidney health
- Blood sugar levels
- Blood protein levels
- Acid and base balance
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
A CMP includes tests for the following1:
- A protein produced by the liver.
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST). These are all enzymes made by the liver.
- This is a waste product made by the liver.
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine. Waste products that are removed from the bloodstream by the kidneys.
- A critical mineral that is used throughout the body, most notably in the nervous, muscular, and cardiovascular systems.
- This is one form of sugar and serves as your body’s main source of energy.
- Sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide and chloride. All of these are electrolytes responsible for controlling the amount of fluids and balance of acids and bases in your body.
Why is a CMP important?
Healthcare providers typically order a CMP as part of an annual physical to understand your overall health, or if there are potential concerns with the function of your liver or kidneys.
For example, high levels of creatinine could mean you have a kidney infection or kidney stones3.
How Scarlet® can help with a CMP
If your healthcare provider has requested that you complete a CMP, Scarlet® makes it easier than ever to complete. Upload your lab test order from your healthcare provider, and once approved you can request an appointment for a time and location (at home or work) that is most convenient for you to get your blood drawn. Sometimes a CMP requires fasting (check with your healthcare provider first), so it’s convenient to get your blood drawn right at home and then rush from the couch to the fridge before you get hangry.