When is Alert jewelry or alternative really necessary?

By Onedar Latest Reply 2011-03-19 19:01:27 -0500
Started 2011-03-12 14:06:55 -0600

I was diagnosed with Type 2 two years ago. The first year, I was "good" and wore a Medic Alert medallion around my neck (don't like bracelets). It was always uncomfortable and I stopped wearing it after about a year. I still carry the card in my wallet. At this point, I'm not on insulin (using Byetta), my sugars have been under control, and I've never had a hypoglycemic episode. While some advocate that everyone should wear alert jewelry, it seems a bit overkill to me. Please help - what objective criteria can help determine when it really is necessary?

19 replies

Onedar 2011-03-19 19:01:27 -0500 Report

Thanks much to all who responded. Your input gave me much to think about and helped spark a good conversation with my wife. Today I received my new alert bracelet and I am committed to wearing it at all times, regardless of my discomfort.

Tigereyze209 2011-03-13 21:45:57 -0500 Report

A friend of mine carries a medic alert card in his wallet which is actually a USB flash drive with all of his medical information on it. He also has a tag on a necklace, but all it really says is to check the card in his wallet. They also have a version which goes on your key ring. I am sure there are others with examples of alternate id methods.

tabby9146 2011-03-13 20:05:50 -0500 Report

Hey like someone else said, make sure you take those glucose tablets with you everywhere, I keep them in my purse at all times. I keep one pack in one purse, and one in the other, so when I change purses, I won't forget. I also keep a 15 carb snack with me at ALL times in my purse and I keep one in my glove compartment in the car, just in case I forget some time and have already eaten and not replaced it in my purse. I keep something where I work at my part-time office job at the church too. When I was first diagnosed, someone told me to keep a can of coke in the house or juice at all times, and I do that too.

tabby9146 2011-03-13 19:58:51 -0500 Report

I know what you mean, I managed to get off pills after 3 months, losing all the weight, keep it under control with diet and exercise, been doing good at that now for about a little over two years. So I asked at diabetes class (after I had already lost half the weight by the time I went to my first class) and they said yes, it applies to me too. I asked about the feet, and they said it applied to me. I stll have no medical i.d. jewelry. But I understand too that I need it, so I plan to get one of those nicer looking bracelets the rubber ones in the bright colors the young people like to wear these days, they are cool looking. It can say I have diabetes and nothing else. But I am like you, I still don't completely think I need it yet, and I have never had a dangerously low episode. I have been in the 70s and no lower. I have been told on here by many, that since I am not on insulin or pills, that the chances of my going too low, are almost non existant.

kittenpurr1 2011-03-12 20:34:51 -0600 Report

It's better to be safe, than sorry. It's in my opinion these are out for a reason, and if someone wants to be that crazy in not allowing others to know, then if they are injured, they only have who to blame? Yes, that's right, theirself. It takes an uncaring person, not put stickers on their house if they have pets that live inside, it lets fire fighters know, something is a live in there. Same conception- protection is the key!!

kittenpurr1 2011-03-12 20:25:37 -0600 Report

I wear mine b/c I have sooo many illnesses, and I am allergic to 42 mediactions. Everything from blood pressure, antibiotics, to pain medications. It lists my contacts, and hospital, I prefer. It has saved my friends life about 7 times, she was in a diabetic coma. She has been in about 6 of them, so she couldn't talk. The other day, she fell, and broke her foot, it's good she wears it, she has fibromyaglia, and diabetes, and even more, it helped the paramedics know how to treat her.

Bill65 2011-03-12 20:18:53 -0600 Report

I. personally, wear a necklace with a Medical Alert Emblem on a pendant. I also have Chrohn's disease and am on steriods. On the opposite side of the pendant, from the Medical Alert Emblem, I have engraved that I am a Diabetic and that I take steriods. I wear the necklace every where I go. I keep the necklase next to my truck keys. That way. I am more apt to not forget it. I probably should get the pendant updated to state that I am also taking Insulin. I am not sure how much the medical personnel, EMTs or ER Personnel. As I state, I wear my necklace all of the time and have never had either groups of personnel ask me about the pendant. I have seen my share of the ER Staffs due to my Chrohns', and have limited experience with the EMTs. I have only had one Nurse ask about the pendant. She was a Staff Nurse on the floor where I was put after admitting me. I have had at least 60 hospitalizations in the last 25 years and only been asked about the pendant one time! In spite of this, I still think that it is a good idea to wear some kind of jewelry indicating that you are a diabetic.

kdroberts 2011-03-12 19:55:58 -0600 Report

A lot gets put on low blood sugar as a reason to wear one, but that's just one one really. It is a very good reason if you do suffer from low blood sugar episodes but there are others. Think of it like this, I hope it doesn't happen though.

You're walking along one day or driving or in a store or whatever, something happen (hit by a car, tree branch falls on you, slip on a wet floor, whatever) and you are unconscious. Do you think it would be a good idea to provide EMTs, ER doctors and nurses information that would allow them to treat you as quickly, effectively and as safely as possible? Maybe they put you an an IV, they have a choice of one has a glucose base and one doesn't but the glucose base is nearer so they grab that. Or maybe your blood sugar is so high or so low because of the accident that it is causing problems that they can't figure out.

Even something as simple as a name can lead to faster, more accurate care rather than the care team taking time trying to figure things out from the bottom up. Remember, doctors, nurses, EMT's, etc are good but they can make choices based on the information they have. If you are unable to talk then the information they have is what they can see and anything you have on you.

sNerTs1 2011-03-14 13:08:37 -0500 Report

Totally agree with you kd. You never know what can happen at any given moment so why put yourself at risk for more damage when someone is trying hard to save your life. Who are you really helping there?

Recently on here I read about medical alert jewelry and to tell you honestly I hate something that jumps out and jabs another person in the eye that you have something wrong with you. But the jewelry I found is very discreet, yet letting people know its a medical alert id, it still looks very nice to wear.

I guess for me, I am vain about things like this, but Im not so vain that I am going to put my life in more jeopardy should something happen to me.

Dev 2011-03-13 11:12:35 -0500 Report

Thanks for pointing other reasons. We never thought of diabetic jewelry before as we thought it was a Type 1 thing.

After reading this I browsed to check what kind of jewelry is avaialable. There seem to be dog tags, bracelets. Whatever we decide on has to be worn 24/7. That means it is going to be visible to everybody 24/7. I was wondering how that affects a decision to wear diabetic jewelry or not.

My husband (who is diabetic) is not so worried about telling others. All our friends and family know. but once you wear a visible jewelry then anybody and everybody knows. You don't have control over that.

If fluctuating BGs is not a problem, would a wallet card be as effective in emergencies unrelated to diabetes like accidents? I ask because I don't know how an emergency responce team works. would they look in a wallet or one has to have a visible necklace or a bracelet for them to notice?

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2011-03-13 11:43:44 -0500 Report

I would worry because in some emergencies they treat first and identify by checking wallets later. And once they have already given you treatment they can't exactly take the medicine back out of you.

If you are worried about everyone knowing you are diabetic get one that just has the medical alert symbol on the front and has the information inscribed in a more conservative way. People will know it's a medical alert tag but they won't have to know why you wear it unless you tell them.

Here are a few nice ones from eBay.:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Medical-Alert-Stainless-S... —- This one requires a wallet card as it just has the symbol on it.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Medical-Alert-Dog-Tag-Pen... —- This is the one I currently own it has the information inscribed on the back but you actually have to pick it up and look at it to be able to read it so it's nice and private. I put it on a ribbon rather than the chain that comes with it because the chain bothered my skin.

http://cgi.ebay.com/MEDICAL-ID-ALERT-BRACELET... —— This one is nice because it looks just like a military dog tag so there shouldn't be a lot of questions.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Medical-Alert-USB-Drive-P... —— This is going to be mine soon because it can hold so much more information. Though I plan on also wearing my current tag with it and keeping a card in my purse for cases when I would need treatment and a computer is not near by.

These are all pendant types but they can be used as key chains as well. I prefer pendants because I can wear it all the time and never have to worry if I forgot it at the house.

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2011-03-12 19:30:04 -0600 Report

I wear my pendant all the time because as a diabetic, even a controlled diabetic, I am still not supposed to take certain medications. For instance, my numbers runs around the 120s but if I take even one acetominophen containing medication my numbers shoot to almost 300, this isn't common in diabetics so I have this also written on my wallet card. And since it is one of the most common pain medicines if I'm ever unconscious I don't want any one giving it to me.

There are several other medicines that will do that to diabetics and I don't want to end up sicker for longer because no one knew about my diabetes because I couldn't tell them.

I've fought hard to keep my body at decent numbers and I don't want to have all that go to waste by someone not knowing about my condition when I am unable to speak out about it. I'd rather tell the whole world I'm diabetic and need certain treatment than end up really sick or dead because no one knew.

If you do not like the pendant or jewelery maybe try at least getting a key chain or something so you can keep it with you. For me it's a matter of better safe than sorry. Besides, the little sticker on my metformin says you should wear medical ID to indicate you are on that medicine.

Lori J
Lori J 2011-03-12 19:09:41 -0600 Report

James, Hey just make sure you carry with you glucose gel, tablets or the drink with you, just put them in your pocket, so if you do go low and not able to eat you'll have something to help you out until then, and also if you work harder then what you were, the liver will kick out some sugar to help you out, but it's always good to carry back up with you. You can find these products in the diabetic section at WalMart or any pharmacy.

Lori J
Lori J 2011-03-12 19:01:01 -0600 Report

If you don't like wearing medical bracelets, just make sure you have information in your wallet about your condition, always let your boss know about your condition and everyone you feel comfortable with telling. Let them know what to do incase your sugar goes too low, I carry the glucose gel, tablets and glucose drink with me everywhere I go, keep it in your car at your work station and let people know where they are, all of these can be found in the diabetic section at WalMart, they are great to have when you need them.

jayabee52 2011-03-12 15:02:22 -0600 Report

My question to you, Ondar, would be: Can you possibly know ahead of time when you go out for the day what your Blood glucose numbers ("BG#s") will be, high or low, later that day? You may have good control now, but a situation where you cannot eat for hours after your usual time to eat may throw you into a low. It is just added protection for your own safety in case the unexpected happens. I agree with Lynette (realsis)

realsis77 2011-03-12 14:36:24 -0600 Report

Hi. I do advocate wearing a medical alert piece of jewelery . I feel it is important in the case of a emergency. In my case I do take insulin and if ever id have a situation I want the emt or hospital to know about my diabetes. Also it alerts that I do take insulin. I feel its a percaution. I supposed its a matter of personal choice. I would just rather be safe than sorry. Now they have many different options for medical jewerly. They have new and different design ideas. They really have many options! I personally feel safer wearing it, just in case. I know they have different options avaiable. I've even seen key chains. But as I said its a personal decision. Only you can decide if its right for you.I do really think its a good option for all diabetics just to be safe.

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