Anxiety associated with self monitoring of capillary blood glucose


  • Amy Shlomowitz Advanced Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Beta Cell Diabetes Centre, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK Thomas Addison Unit, St Georges Healthcare, London, UK
  • Michael D Feher Beta Cell Diabetes Centre, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK Diabetes Therapy Evaluation Network, London, UK CSRI, Warwick University, Warwick, UK



Aims: The aims were to evaluate (1) prevalence and contributing factors of anxiety to the finger prick method used to self monitor glucose: (2) whether individuals report avoidance of self monitoring due to fear of the finger prick method; and (3) levels of general anxiety.

Methods: Individuals attending a specialist diabetes outpatient centre, and who self monitored their capillary blood glucose concentrations, were invited to complete a standardised questionnaire to assess anxiety associated with the finger prick method blood glucose measurement, and general day-to-day anxiety.

Results: From 315 (58% male) individuals with diabetes, finger prick anxiety was observed in 30% and general anxiety in 33%. Positive correlations were found for finger prick anxiety with avoidance of testing and with general anxiety. Older individuals had less general anxiety and females reported greater anxiety to the finger prick method and general anxiety. There were ethnic differences in anxiety to the finger prick method and avoidance of testing, but not to general anxiety.

Conclusions: One third of a general diabetes outpatient cohort have general anxiety and anxiety to the finger prick method for glucose testing. There are important implications for both patients and health care professionals in identifying barriers to achieving improved diabetes control.


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