Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

Author: OncoLink Team
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A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a blood test. It tests up to 14 values. It is used to see how organs like your kidneys and liver are working.

The range of values that is normal for most people is often given with your lab test results.

Test done

What is it?

Common causes of an abnormal value

Glucose

A simple sugar that is used as energy for the body.

A low value (hypoglycemia) can be caused by adrenal insufficiency, liver disease, hypothyroidism, and insulin overdose. A high value (hyperglycemia) can be caused by acute stress, chronic kidney failure, Cushing Syndrome, hyperthyroidism, pancreatic cancer, and excessive food intake.

Calcium

A mineral important for the muscles, nerves, and heart to be able to work, blood clotting, and bone health.

A low value (hypocalcemia) can be caused by a low protein level, hypoparathyroidism, low dietary calcium, vitamin D or magnesium, pancreatitis, and renal failure. A high value (hyperglycemia) can be caused by hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, kidney transplant, some cancers, metastasis to the bone, and HIV/AIDS.  

Albumin

A protein made by the liver. It transports molecules in the blood and keeps fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels.

A low value (hypoalbuminemia) can be caused by acute liver disease, nephrotic syndrome, infection, inflammation, malnutrition, malabsorption, cancer, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. A high value (hyperalbuminemia) can be caused by dehydration.

Total Protein

A measure of all proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of all cells.

A low value (hypoproteinemia) can be caused by malfunction of the kidneys or liver, malnutrition, and malabsorption. A high value (hyperproteinemia) can be caused by chronic inflammation, infections, and bone marrow disorders.

Sodium

An electrolyte that regulates the amount of fluid in the body and helps with nerve and muscle function.

A low value (hyponatremia)  can be caused by diarrhea, kidney disease, diuretics, overconsumption of water, heart failure, and overproduction of anti-diuretic hormone. A high value (hypernatremia) can be caused by dehydration, Cushing syndrome, and diabetes insipidus.

Potassium

An electrolyte that regulates the amount of fluid in the body, promotes cell metabolism and muscle function.

A low value (hypokalemia) can be caused by diarrhea, vomiting, potassium wasting diuretics, acetaminophen overdose, and certain medications. A high value (hyperkalemia) can be caused by kidney failure, dehydration, excessive potassium intake, infection, diabetes, and certain medications.

Total CO2/

Bicarbonate

An ion that maintains acid-base balance, also known as pH.

A low value can be caused by diarrhea, kidney disease, aspirin overdose, or Addison’s disease. A high level can be caused by vomiting, lung disease, and Cushing syndrome.

Chloride

An electrolyte that regulates the amount of fluid in the body and helps maintain acid-base balance.

A low value (hypochloremia) can be caused by congestive heart failure, chronic lung diseases, diarrhea, and kidney disease. A high value (hyperchloremia) can be caused by dehydration and kidney disease.

Blood Urea Nitrogen/BUN

A waste product produced in the liver which is the result of breaking down and metabolizing protein.

A low value is not uncommon but can be caused by liver disease, malnutrition, and over hydration. A high value can be caused by kidney disease or a condition causing decreased blood flow to the kidneys such as congestive heart failure, shock, stress, recent heart attack, burns, and dehydration.

Creatinine

A waste product produced by muscles that is excreted by the kidneys.

A low level is not uncommon but can be caused by conditions that result in decreased muscle mass. A high level can be caused by conditions that affect kidney function.

ALT

(Alanine Aminotransferase)

An enzyme released into the bloodstream when the liver is injured.

A low level is normal. A high value can be caused by injury to the liver including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and tumor in the liver.

AST

(Aspartate Aminotransferase)

An enzyme released into the bloodstream when the liver is injured.

A low level is normal. A high value can be caused by injury to the liver including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and tumor in the liver.

ALP

(Alkaline Phosphatase)

An enzyme found in tissues including the liver, bone, kidney, and intestine.

A low level of ALP can be caused by zinc deficiency, malnutrition, and temporarily after a blood transfusion or heart bypass surgery. A high value can be caused by liver disease, bone disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, congestive heart failure, ulcerative colitis, and bacterial infections.

Bilirubin

A pigment that is a waste product of the break down of red blood cells. The buildup causes yellowing of the skin and eyes.

A low level is normal. A high value can be caused by anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, reaction to a medication, cancer, and gallstones.

It is important to note that many of these values can be affected by medications you are taking or other factors that are affecting your health besides cancer. Your health care team will help interpret the results of this test.

References

Bennfleck-Shannon J, editor. Medical Tests Sourcebook. 2nd edition. Detroit (MI): Omnigraphics; 2004.

Fischbach FT. Manual of laboratory and diagnostic tests. 6th edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2000.

Lab Tests Online. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. 2020.

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