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CMP Vs. BMP: What’s The Difference?

Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Table of Contents

lab tech looking at blood tests in tube

When it comes to assessing your health and diagnosing potential illnesses, blood tests play a crucial role. Two of the most ordered blood tests are the basic metabolic panel 8 and comprehensive metabolic panel 14. While they may sound similar, these tests have key differences and similarities. In this CMP vs. BMP labs article, we will explore how these tests differ and help you understand which is more appropriate for you.

CMP Vs. BMP: Primary Difference

Even though the BMP and CMP tests measure similar substances, they differ in various ways. For one, in a CMP test, additional biomarkers are added to evaluate liver function. These include ALT, AST, alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin, which provide valuable insights into liver health. As the BMP test doesn’t include these markers, the CMP test is better for evaluating liver function.

The CMP test also measures total protein and enzymes. These protein types can indicate your nutritional status, as well as your liver and kidney health. For this reason, the CMP test is ideal if you’re also checking in on your cholesterol and liver enzyme profile. 

Basic Metabolic Panel 8

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a blood test commonly ordered as part of a routine checkup or when symptoms of metabolic disorders are observed. A BMP test can be used to diagnose conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and electrolyte imbalances. The test is useful for monitoring the efficacy of medications and treatments and for managing chronic conditions. 

What’s Included in BMP

There are eight substances screened through a BMP blood test. All of which provide clarity about your health, specifically your metabolism and vital organ functions. 

  • Glucose: The blood glucose level can provide insights into your risk of developing diabetes or if you already have one. A blood glucose test is also instrumental in monitoring treatment. 
  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen): BUN is a waste product from protein metabolism. Increased BUN can indicate kidney and urinary tract issues as well as dehydration. 
  • Creatine: Another waste product, creatinine, is produced by the muscles and filtered in the kidneys. Therefore, high creatinine levels can be linked to kidney problems. 
  • Sodium: As one of the essential electrolytes in the body, sodium helps keep the balance of fluids in the cells, the circulation of nutrients in the blood vessels, and maintaining efficient functions of organs. When sodium levels are not within the normal range, it may suggest issues in blood pressure and fluid retention, among others.   
  • Potassium: Similar to sodium, potassium is another type of electrolyte that contributes to vital functions in the body, such as fluid balance, nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction, blood pressure control, and protein metabolism. An imbalance in potassium can signal critical health issues. For example, low potassium or hypokalemia can lead to arrhythmia, fatigue, muscle weakness, and digestive distress. 
  • Chloride: Chloride joins the other electrolytes in maintaining nerve and muscle functions. It provides insights into your hydration, salt consumption, and underlying conditions like kidney disease. Chloride imbalance is also detected through a chloride blood test and can be managed or lowered through natural ways and medical treatment.   
  • Calcium: Another electrolyte, calcium can paint a picture of your parathyroid health, vitamin D intake, kidney disease, etc. 
  • CO2 (carbon dioxide): Carbon dioxide is the waste product that the cell produces during cellular respiration. Abnormal CO2 levels may indicate an issue with your lung functions.

You can order the basic metabolic panel 8 (BMP) blood test online. Simply locate a partner laboratory near you to have your blood sample collected and analyzed. 

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel 14

Known as a comprehensive metabolic panel, a CMP 14 blood test provides valuable information about an individual’s overall health and organ function. The test consists of 14 different blood tests that assess different aspects of the body’s metabolism. Healthcare professionals use it to evaluate organ function, monitor conditions, and screen for health problems.

What’s Included in CMP

The comprehensive metabolic panel 14 (CMP) blood tests cover all the eight substances screened in the BMP test. But it’s different in that it has six additional tests for liver enzymes.  

  • Albumin: Albumin is a type of protein secreted from the liver. If the blood test shows abnormal levels of albumin, it can be linked to issues involving the liver or kidney. 
  • Bilirubin: Bilirubin is produced when red blood cells (RBCs) break down. It is metabolized by the liver, excreted in bile, and eliminated through the digestive system. Elevated bilirubin in the blood is a red flag for potential liver or biliary disease. 
  • Total protein in the blood: This test checks for two key proteins together in the blood. One is albumin, and it’s produced by your liver. The other is called globulin, and it’s a group of proteins that fight infections. It can be used to help diagnose conditions affecting the liver, kidney, and blood plasma.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP): ALP is an enzyme found in different organs like the livers, kidneys, bones, and placenta in pregnant women. Its level is tested to help diagnose liver and bone disorders. 
  • Alanine transaminase (ALT): ALT is a liver enzyme that breaks down food for energy. The ALT blood test measures its level in the blood, which can indicate liver damage or other conditions. Read more about what it means to have high ALT levels
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST): AST is an enzyme found in many tissues throughout the body, but it’s most concentrated in the liver, heart, and skeletal muscle. It is one of the substances measured to assess liver function. Elevated levels of AST in the blood may indicate liver damage or disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. 

Your doctor may ask you to order a CMP 14 blood test online instead of the BMP test if there’s a need to assess your liver health and other body functions in which additional tests are necessary. This could be due to symptoms you have, your medical history, or a family history of liver disease. 

Frequently Asked Questions: CMP Versus BMP

female nurse at the clinic practicing medicine

What is the difference between CMP and CBC?

A CMP blood test differs from a CBC or complete blood count in that a CMP screens for substances indicative of metabolic disorders or problems related to organ dysfunction, while a CBC assesses blood cells to help diagnose and monitor infections, blood disorders, and problems related to immunity. Both lab tests, however, provide an overview of your general health. 

Do you need to fast for a CMP test?

Yes, you will be asked to fast for 12 hours before the blood sample collection to ensure that the results are accurate. Make sure not to consume anything except for water during the said timeframe as part of your preparation before the blood test

Who needs a BMP?

People undergoing a routine checkup typically need a BMP blood test. Healthcare providers also request this test to assess your metabolism, especially if you’re being treated in the emergency room. If you show symptoms related to metabolic disorders, you’ll likely need the BMP test as well for proper diagnosis and monitoring when the condition is confirmed. 

The Bottom Line

Individuals who wish to have better control of their help should consider taking the BMP 8 blood test or CMP 14 test for healthcare providers to understand their health status. While the BMP test is the standard test for routine checkups, your doctor may recommend the CMP test based on your previous or current health profile. If you’re still torn between a comprehensive metabolic panel vs. a basic metabolic panel test, consult your doctor to help you decide.

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