What is a Metabolic Panel Test, and Which One to Get?

A metabolic panel test is one of the most common blood tests performed today, and it provides an overview of your liver, kidney, and electrolyte function. It’s also used to determine whether or not you have diabetes or other metabolic diseases. A metabolic panel can include any specific tests, depending on what the doctor or health care provider feels will give them the best information to help them make a diagnosis and determine the right course of treatment.

What is a metabolic panel test?

A metabolic panel is a blood test that measures your sugar (glucose) level, electrolyte levels, kidney function, and liver function. This information can help your doctor diagnose or monitor diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and other conditions. The test may also check how well your treatments are working.

A metabolic panel tests for diabetes and prediabetes. The potential benefits of this test are that it can help you manage your diabetes and prediabetes. This test measures your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, and ketones. To know if you have diabetes or prediabetes, the doctor will look at the following factors: fasting plasma glucose level (FPG), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), FPG and HbA1c together, and insulin resistance (IR), cholesterol ratios (total/HDL) and body mass index.

When should I consider getting one?

Metabolic panels are good for anyone who has diabetes. It can also be helpful for those who have an eating disorder or kidney disease. It’s a good idea to get a test if you’ve been experiencing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and fatigue. Testing after experiencing these symptoms is important because it can detect dehydration and malnutrition. A metabolic panel tests the levels of many different substances in the blood.

Some of these include:

  • Electrolytes
  • Glucose
  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
  • Creatinine (a waste product)
  • Calcium (a mineral that helps build bones)
  • Total protein levels
  • Albumin (a protein made by the liver)
  • ALT (alanine aminotransferase) levels
  • AST (aspartate aminotransferase) levels

Metabolic panels are tests that measure different chemicals in your blood. They can be used to check for kidney or liver problems or to see how well your body is metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You may need to get a metabolic panel if you have kidney or liver disease symptoms or are at risk for diabetes.

Another factor to consider when getting tests for your health involves questions about your lifestyle. Questions like, How often do you exercise? Or do you regularly engage in physical activity such as swimming or biking? These are important indicators of how you would be affected by certain diseases that can be detected by testing.

Symptoms that encourage CMP testing

A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a blood test that gives your doctor a snapshot of your body’s chemistry and how well your organs function. It can help diagnose diabetes, kidney disease, and liver disease. Your doctor may order a CMP if you have symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, or yellowing of your skin or eyes. Sometimes, a CMP will be recommended when testing for other diseases or conditions. You might also be given the test if you have had any major illness, such as a heart attack or stroke. Your healthcare provider will likely recommend following up with further tests in these cases to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Liver and kidney health

The liver is responsible for processing and removing toxins from the blood. The kidneys filter the blood and remove waste products from the body. A metabolic panel tests both the liver and kidney function. This test can screen for potential problems with these organs or monitor treatment for existing problems. There are different types of metabolic panels: the basic, expanded, and complete metabolic panels.

Blood sugar levels

A metabolic panel tests for glucose levels in the blood. High blood sugar levels can be a sign of diabetes and lead to serious health complications if left untreated. A metabolic panel can help catch diabetes early and help you manage your blood sugar levels. You should discuss getting a complete metabolic panel if you have symptoms like frequent urination, increased thirst, extreme hunger, or weight loss. If not detected quickly enough, this condition can cause damage to the heart and other organs.

Blood protein levels

A metabolic panel tests the levels of various proteins in your blood. Proteins are important for many bodily functions, including cell growth and repair, blood clotting, and maintaining fluid balance. Abnormal protein levels can signify serious health conditions like liver or kidney disease. In this case, it’s best to get an appointment to be tested. The testing also looks at electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) and enzymes (creatinine kinase). The level of these substances gives information about how well your heart and kidneys are functioning. The most common way people know they need to see a doctor after getting a metabolic panel is because they have high blood sugar levels or an abnormal amount of creatinine kinase enzyme in their system.

Acid and base balance

The blood pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of the blood. The body’s pH levels are tightly regulated. It can be life-threatening if the pH levels become too high or low. The metabolic panel tests for three different acids in the blood: carbonic acid, phosphoric acid, and sulfuric acid. It also measures the amount of base (bicarbonate) in the blood. High bicarbonate levels can indicate:

  • Liver damage
  • Renal failure
  • Severe diabetes mellitus with ketoacidosis
  • Severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory infection

Low bicarbonate levels may occur from prolonged vomiting or diarrhea.

Fluid and electrolyte balance

The body’s fluid and electrolyte balance are crucial to its proper function. Maintaining this balance helps the body to regulate blood pressure, transport nutrients, and oxygen to cells, and remove waste products. Electrolytes are particularly important in keeping the body’s fluid levels in check. Sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate are all electrolytes that help the body to maintain fluid balance. A metabolic panel can be used to measure these electrolytes so that doctors can see if there are any imbalances and take appropriate action if necessary.


Your body’s metabolism is the process by which it breaks down food and converts it into energy. A metabolic panel tests how well this process is working. It can also reveal problems with how your body uses or stores energy. Metabolic panels are ordered when you have symptoms of thyroid disease, diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease, liver disease, or nutritional deficiencies. They can be ordered as routine lab work to check if any underlying health issues need attention.

CMP process

A CMP, or comprehensive metabolic panel, is a blood test that gives your doctor a snapshot of your body’s chemistry and how well your organs are functioning. It includes tests that measure sugar and fat levels, kidney and liver function, and electrolyte balance. The testing process is quick and easy – it only takes minutes for the nurse to draw the blood sample.

The test can be ordered by itself or with other specific tests for something more specific, such as the pancreas or thyroid gland.

CMP tests are usually ordered as part of a routine physical but can also be ordered if you’re experiencing certain symptoms. For example, if you have dark urine or unexplained weight loss, your doctor may want to order blood tests that can indicate diabetes or liver problems. If these aren’t present in your CMP results, your doctor may want additional testing for other underlying medical issues.

Concierge comprehensive metabolic panel testing

Concierge services may be what you need for those who don’t like to commute to clinics and waste time in waiting rooms. Concierge services are an alternative to clinic visits, providing clients with more personalized care from physicians in the comfort of their homes or workplaces. Concierge providers offer various health-related services such as wellness checks, physicals for work, nutrition consultations, and testing for diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol at competitive rates without waiting for an appointment or enduring the stressful drive across town.

The standard comprehensive metabolic panel requires testing for electrolytes (potassium, sodium, and chloride), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), blood glucose (sugar), and creatinine. It is used to detect imbalances in fluid levels caused by dehydration or excess fluid due to heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney problems.


Following CMP testing, you may need to follow a treatment plan to improve your health. Depending on the severity of the problems, treatments will vary. Some conditions are easily fixed with diet or exercise, while others may require more intense treatments like surgery or medication.

How do I know if my CMP tests are bad enough that I need treatment? Is there something specific I should be concerned about if I’m diagnosed with low levels of vitamins or minerals? If so, what can I do about it? Which CMP test is right for me? These are all questions everyone should be asking when considering or following CMP testing.

Get your at Home Metabolic Panel with Concierge MD

An in-home metabolic panel is a convenient way to identify if your metabolism is working at peak performance. One of our medical experts comes to your home to collect samples for lab testing, helps you understand the results, and recommends your next steps.

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