What Do My Blood Test Results Mean? - Part ONE - Complete Metabolic Panel - CMP
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Reference Ranges and False Readings
This is part one of a three part series.
Sometimes, when you look at the form that has all your blood work results, it is just boggling to the eye. Most people have no idea why each test is done and hopefully this article will help to interpret it.
Certain things can influence a test so the result is a false positive or a false negative. False positive is when a test says a disease is present and it really is not. False negative is when a test says a disease is not present and it really is.
Please understand that reference values listed here can change from laboratory to laboratory because each company sets their own reference ranges. Use the reference range column on your own laboratory form as your guide when you are reading your results. Don't compare your results from one laboratory with the reference ranges from another laboratory. You may get upset and think the worse of a high blood test result when, in fact, it is just the way the labs set their values.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel has 14 tests
Factors That Can Influence Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
- Also known as a CMP. In the past, you may have heard these terms: Chem 12, Chemistry panel; Chemistry screen; SMA 12, SMA 20, SMAC. Today we usually refer to it as CMP. It is a group of 14 tests that measures your liver and kidney function and your electrolyte levels.
Standards of measure: mg = milligram, g = gram, IU = international unit, L = liter, pg = picogram, fL = femtoliter, mcL = microliter, dL = deciliter, mmol = millimole, mEq = milliequivalent.
Certain factors can influence the positive or negative outcome of a test.
- Some tests require fasting 8 to 12 hours before.
- Some tests require you to eat a few hours before a test.
- Some medications, such as steroids and hormone medications, can raise blood sugar.
- Some medications, such as depression and blood pressure medications, can lower your blood sugar levels.
- Other factors include pregnancy, stress, smoking, taking Vitamin C, exercise, caffeine beverages and alcohol.
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The 14 Blood Tests in a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
Usually your doctor will tell you to stop eating and drinking about 8 to 12 hours before this blood test is drawn.
A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) tests for
1) blood sugar (glucose),
2) serum protein tests (includes albumin - a blood protein, globulin (A/G Ratio), total blood protein),
3) electrolyte panel (which includes sodium, potassium, chloride, and CO2),
4) kidney tests (blood urea nitrogen, creatinine),
5) liver function tests (ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine amino transferase, also called SGPT), AST (aspartate amino transferase, also called SGOT and bilirubin).
In addition to the CMP, your doctor may order a Complete Blood Cell count (CBC), fasting blood test for triglycerides and cholesterol, thyroid tests, CPK (creatine phosphokinase), Vitamin B12 level, and ammonia level (ammonium ion test).
Basic Instructions Before Testing
1 - Glucose
Blood sugar (glucose) testing is usually a fasting test meaning you should have had nothing to eat since the night before or a minimum of 8 hours.
This blood test is performed to see if you are in healthy range, have HYPOglycemia or HYPERglycemia, monitor diabetes, and monitors fluctuations in levels.
Normal range for fasting glucose is 70 -100 mg/dL. This reference range is universal among all laboratories.
Higher test results indicate possible Diabetes. Since certain medications can influence this test, the result also shows any contraindication of medications you are presently taking.
Lower test results indicate Hypoglycemia - low blood sugar. Depending on how low the result is, this can be an emergency which should be treated immediately. Normal protocol is a healthy meal within an hour for slightly low blood sugar OR orange juice with sugar for extremely low levels.
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2 - CMP: Protein Levels
Total Protein, Albumin, Globulin (A/G Ratio)
Albumin - this test measures how well your kidneys and liver are functioning and if your body has enough protein. Albumin transports nutrients throughout your body. A physician may order this test if you are retaining water, for example in your ankles, belly or lungs.
- Normal values are between 3.9 and 5.0 g/dL. A high reading indicates a cause of severe dehydration while a low reading indicates liver or kidney maladies, such as problems with thyroid, malnutrition, an autoimmune disease (for example: Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis,), gastrointestinal or malabsorption diseases (such as Celiac's Disease, Crohn's Disease) and burn victims.
Total Protein - this test measures the total protein in the blood.
- Normal values are between 60 and 85 g/L. A high reading can indicate Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Leukemia, or Paraproteinanemia. A low reading indicates a low albumin rate which can mean liver disease or some type of acute infection.
Globulin - (Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Globulin) - this test is usually done to see if you are at risk of infection or if have a particular blood disease (for example, Leukemia).
- Normal values for Alpha-1 globulin are between 0.1-0.3 g/dL.
- Normal values for Alpha-2 globulin are 0.6-1.0 g/dL.
- Normal values for Beta globulin are 0.7-1.4 g/dL.
- Normal values for Gamma globulin are 0.7-1.6 g/dL.
- Normal values for Albumin/Globulin (A/G) ratio is 1.1-1.8. Again, these vary with laboratories. A high reading can indicate a blood disease such as Multiple Myeloma, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, autoimmune diseases (ex: Lupus, Hepatitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scarcoidosis), Tuberculosis, or kidney or liver disease. A low reading can indicate Emphysema or liver dysfunction.
If your A/G Ratio is elevated, your physician will look for causes. Some examples are: Hypothyroidism, overuse of corticosteroids, a high protein high carbohydrate diet, adrenal dysfunction.
Complete Metabolic Panel - CMP
© January 2012 Anne DiGeorge
Updated 2/3/2014 and 4/6/2017
© 2012 awordlover