What Is the Basic Metabolic Panel?

The basic metabolic panel is a group of blood tests conducted to provide information about the body's metabolism. Results are used to evaluate kidney function, blood acid-base balance and blood sugar levels, notes MedlinePlus.

A basic metabolic panel requires drawing a blood sample from an elbow vein or the back of the hand. Patients must fast prior to the procedure, and they may be required to stop taking medications in advance of the test. Blood chemicals that are analyzed include blood urea nitrogen, carbon dioxide or bicarbonate, creatinine, glucose, sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, and albumin, explains Healthline.

Abnormal test results occur when chemical levels are either too high or low and may indicate a serious medical condition, such as kidney disease, diabetes or diabetes-related complications, lung disease, certain heart issues, or problems with the pancreas and insulin metabolism, states Healthline. For example, a high blood urea nitrogen level may indicate kidney disease or kidney failure, while a low level may indicate liver problems. A high creatinine level may indicate muscle diseases or preeclampsia, whereas a low level may indicate myasthenia gravis or muscular dystrophy. High chloride levels may indicate metabolic acidosis, and low levels may indicate Addison’s disease, congestive heart failure or dehydration.