Pricking your finger is part of daily life when you use a blood glucose monitor to manage diabetes. But despite the necessity, finger prick anxiety is common. After all, no one wants to prick their finger multiple times a day. Unfortunately, that anxiety can interfere with keeping a blood glucose monitoring routine. Finding ways to reduce finger prick anxiety is critical to staying on track with your diabetes management plan.
The Prevalence of Finger Prick Anxiety
If you experience finger prick anxiety, you’re not alone. Here’s what one study found:
- 30% of people experience finger prick anxiety when performing self-monitoring of blood glucose levels
- 13.7% of study participants avoid testing at least some of the time due to finger prick anxiety
- 19% of people who do not perform routine blood-glucose monitoring reported that it’s because of finger prick anxiety
Other common causes of anxiety include the following:
- Fear of needles
- Fear of blood
- Fear of infection
- Fear of test results
- Feeling self-conscious about testing in public
- Difficulty operating the device
- Time pressure
No matter the cause of your anxiety, there are ways to cope and make the blood glucose monitoring process easier.
How to Reduce Finger Prick Anxiety
The following strategies can help you reduce finger prick anxiety and manage difficult emotions so you can stay on track with treatment:
When it comes to anxiety, knowledge can be a powerful antidote.
- Identify the source of your anxiety to figure out how to develop effective coping strategies. Understanding why you feel the way you do can help you discover ways to feel better.
- Find out which lancet device works best for you. Learn about the pros and cons of various lancet sizes, and speak with your healthcare provider about whether a particular device could help reduce your anxiety. For example, if your finger prick anxiety is rooted in a fear of needles, a lancing device that keeps the needle hidden from view could be a great option. If you’re worried about pain, finding out which type of lancet minimizes discomfort may help.
- Read the manual that comes with your blood glucose monitor and lancing device to ensure you know how to operate your equipment properly. This will help you prick your finger as quickly, safely, and confidently as possible. The manual will also tell you how to adjust the depth of lancet penetration, which can make finger pricking less painful.
Educating yourself can help you take control of your fear and uncover new coping mechanisms.
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider
If finger pricking or any other aspect of blood glucose monitoring makes you feel uneasy, talk to your healthcare provider. Being open about your feelings allows them to give you the support you need and helps them adjust your treatment plan if necessary. They can answer any questions you have, offer guidance on lancing devices, and show you techniques to make finger pricking as comfortable as possible—physically and emotionally.
Try New Tools
Today, there are more blood glucose monitors and lancet options available than ever before. Many of them are designed to make the monitoring process faster, easier, and more comfortable, which can make a big difference for people with finger prick anxiety.
Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) minimize the need for finger prick testing. Instead of a lancet, they use a small sensor that stays inserted under your skin for days at a time and continuously sends glucose data to a monitor. Finger prick tests are used only to calibrate the monitor.
For people who prefer to use a blood glucose monitor, one of the most innovative options is the POGO Automatic® Monitor, an all-in-one blood glucose monitoring system that lances and collects blood in one simple step. POGO Automatic uses 10-test cartridges with built-in lancets and test strips so you don’t have to handle multiple components, and the device doesn’t need to be reloaded each time you test. This reduces the risk of accidental pricking, contamination, and infection.
To use POGO Automatic, you simply place your finger on the test port, which activates the lancet. Also, POGO Automatic requires less blood than other traditional meters on the market, 0.25 uL – about the size of a pinhead. This small sample size reduces the need for deep penetration or large needles. Additionally, the lancet stays hidden from view at all times and doesn’t have to be discarded in a sharps container.
POGO Automatic’s unique design makes checking your blood sugar quick, easy, and discreet. You can test virtually anywhere you choose without everyone noticing, and you can trust the results.
Connect With a Counselor
If finger prick anxiety interferes with your ability to follow your diabetes management plan, counseling can help you develop the skills you need to cope with your fears. With the guidance of a compassionate mental health professional, you can gain insight into the root of your anxiety and create meaningful strategies for overcoming it.
Take Charge of Your Finger Prick Anxiety
Dealing with finger prick anxiety, or other anxiety related to blood glucose monitoring, can be difficult, but it’s important to not let them interfere with self-care. With the right support, tools, and techniques, you can address your fears and feel more confident in your ability to manage your diabetes.
Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.
All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.