Most of us have had our blood drawn at some point in our lives. But, Marla Ahlgrimm says we often don’t question what our healthcare providers are looking for, we just close our eyes, grit our teeth, and let them take the blood.
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, the most common blood draw is for a basic metabolic panel. This is a simple examination of your blood that takes a look at eight different substances. Your healthcare provider will measure glucose to check that your body is getting enough (but not too much) sugar to ensure that your brain and body can function correctly.
Marla Ahlgrimm explains that a basic metabolic panel also looks for calcium, a crucial mineral. If your blood does not contain enough calcium, you may have difficulty clotting during an injury. Lesser-known but equally important is blood urea nitrogen, also known as BUN. This is a waste product that’s removed from the blood by the kidneys.
A basic metabolic panel further measures electrolytes, including chloride, bicarbonate, potassium, and sodium.
There are many reasons that a healthcare provider might request a BMP. These are typically included with an annual well visit but might be taken at other times if you begin to experience breathing issues, recurrent nausea, fatigue, or confusion without a known cause. Marla Ahlgrimm explains that your blood panel can help your doctor rule out or diagnose various medical conditions.
Marla Ahlgrimm notes that if your BMP comes back irregular, your doctor may order a comprehensive metabolic panel, which is a total of 14 tests and dives deeper into your overall health.