The basic metabolic panel (BMP) checks the electrolyte and mineral levels in the blood that are so important for keeping your muscles, heart and other organs working properly. Included here is your level of:
- Sodium (NA) -- which is important for regulating the fluid balance in your body and transmitting electrical signals in the brain and muscles. When you’re dehydrated, your level could be high or low. Signs of a sodium imbalance are confusion, weakness and lethargy. IV medication is necessary to correct the imbalance.
- Chloride (Cl) -- also helps to regulate fluids in your body. When a chemical like chloride is lacking, the blood becomes more acidic and reactions don’t occur efficiently and your body doesn’t function properly.
- Potassium (K) -- is necessary for proper functioning of the heart and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction. If your level is too high or too low, you’re at increased risk of an abnormal heart beat. Muscle weakness is often related to a low potassium level. A low potassium level is often the result of diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, malnutrition and malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn's disease. In addition, many blood pressure medications that cause you to lose water also cause you to lose potassium when you urinate. Kidney problems can cause high levels. If your potassium level is low, you’ll be given potassium supplements either by mouth or IV.
- Bicarbonate (HCO3) -- tells about the carbon dioxide (CO2) in your body that is influenced by your lungs and kidney functioning. Abnormal levels may suggest that you are losing or retaining fluid, which causes an imbalance in your body's electrolytes.
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) -- tells us how your kidneys are functioning. When this level is high, it tells us the waste products, made when your body breaks down protein, aren’t being excreted properly. Dehydration and bleeding can raise BUN levels.
- Creatinine (Cr) -- is another indicator of how well your kidneys are working. When this number is high, we know the kidneys aren’t filtering and getting rid of creatinine properly. Muscle damage and dehydration are often related to an elevated creatinine level.
- Glucose (Glu) -- is a type of sugar in your blood. The level fluctuates, depending on what you eat and when and how much energy you’re using. When levels are too high, we look for health problems, like diabetes.