How can I take blood tests and work around my phobia of needles?

Reneesuki asked...

I have needle phobia since I was a kid.....now I have diabetes at age 70 and am afraid to do blood testing....is there a non invasive machine that reads blood glucose levels...I read that there was a sensor one being developed in Israel.....is it available yet? what suggestions do you have for needle phobia....I take the Ac1 blood test okay every 6 mo.but have to medicate myself first.....any help is appreciated....renee

Expert Answer

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

I want you to know I feel for you, as having a fear of needles is a tough problem!

First, there is no "sensor" test yet available for blood glucose reading. The only way to test blood sugar is through blood testing using a lancet. There are machines now that let you test your blood using your arm instead of your fingers, which is less painful. However, you will still have to stick yourself to get the blood.

A1c testing is a good alternative, as you only have to check this every 3 to 6 months and it will let your health care provider know what your blood glucose levels look like on average.

Regarding your needle phobia, you may want to try talking with a therapist about your fear. There are many therapists out there that work with phobias, and it may help you deal with your fear better. Or, you can keep medicating yourself prior to your blood tests, although this may be dangerous if you drive while on a sedating medication.
Good luck!