Is a A1C of 9 to high to get a diabetic Medical Alert Tattoo ?

By Elizabethabrb Latest Reply 2012-08-03 10:45:00 -0500
Started 2012-02-16 20:06:51 -0600

Ok, I really want to get a medical alert tattoo for my type 1 diabetes. However my A1C is a 9 which for me is awesome. I have not been that low for like 10 years. I have struggled with diabetes since I was 17. I have a pump. I diet and exercise. i only weigh 103 lbs and wear a size 0. No matter what I do my sugar is always high. I have been to multiple specialist with no improvement. I am very proud to have finally gotten my A1C from a 12 to a 9. This would be my first tattoo. I never remember my bracelet plus I think it is so ugly. I really think that the tattoo would be a great idea but I am worried that a A1c of 9 is still to high to get a tattoo. I would love to hear other peoples thoughts on the matter. ( also I have never had a problem healing as I have had cervical cancer and multiple surgeries)

53 replies

old biker
old biker 2012-07-09 16:21:51 -0500 Report

I have too many tats to count..Never had a problem with them healing..Just keep it clean use the ointment that they recommended and don't pick the scab :-)

Set apart
Set apart 2012-02-24 06:55:10 -0600 Report

Hi Elizabeth, Ive only had D for 6 months and most recently purchased a cute Med ID bracelet. I am 48 years old and would not consider a tattoo for my T1, but who am I to object. I know tattoos are in I have a son who calls them Body Art and has I think last I counted almost 30 covering his body and don't love him any less. I have warned him though about always having to cover up especially for work, which is a factor to consider! Keep us posted!

mama dunf
mama dunf 2012-02-24 06:28:07 -0600 Report

I recently purchased the medical history bracelet. I love it. It reminds me of the silcone awareness bracelets we've all worn at one time or another. One thing about this is I can put other family members on my bracelet and then have their info as well. With aging parents, who both have cancer and heart problems I've got their info also. We've all kept note cards with meds and etc with us, but this is much handier. The local EMS team checked out my bracelet and gave it a BIG thumbs up. They had never heard of them. I didn't like the looks of the metal bracelets and also forgot to put them on. One thing I do when I take my bracelet off is to attach it to the zipper of my meter. I don't forget or misplace it then. We all never leave home without our meters. There are different web-sites that have beaded bracelets and even beaded necklaces that are pretty and different.
Just google medical alert bracelets. Or better yet, make your own, make several and change them to match your outfits. Hope this helps someone out there. Have a great day everyone!!

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-22 20:54:38 -0600 Report

The healing process is going great already scabbing up. I will put up a pic soon. I am very happy with how it is doing :D

LouAnnB 2012-02-21 11:36:40 -0600 Report

I saw in a paper that I can order a braclet that goes in the computer. It downlows all of your medical info.I been wearing it for a few months now.I take it off in the shower.Every one owns a computer even police have in there car. It can save your life.

jayabee52 2012-02-21 14:15:09 -0600 Report

Howdy LouAnn! WELCOME to DiabeticConnect. glad you're here and decided to contribute! Is your bracelet this one? ~

I wear this one and only take it off to change the data on it like medications or changes in condition. I have even worn it in the shower or swimming without damaging it. I have seen other IDs which can be plugged into a USB port, but I like this one better because the other, one has to pay for new software occasionally. Most of those are not waterproof either. I have had mine since June 2011.

Blessings to you and yours LouAnn


LouAnnB 2012-02-21 15:23:31 -0600 Report

no mine is medal. clips on cant were in water.It goes in a usbport. thank you for getting back to me.

jayabee52 2012-02-21 15:31:43 -0600 Report

I think I've seen things like that, but I chose this because IMHO this was better for me and what I do.

Denisency213 2012-02-20 12:01:28 -0600 Report

I recently got a tattoo has nothing to do with medical alert.i got it cause I like them. My a1c is is 11 I took extra care making sure to maintain it clean and dry . I watched it carefully it healed beautifully in one week , I think u have to know ur body and how it heals. I hope this helps.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-21 18:14:13 -0600 Report

Thanks for your reply!! Mine is already starting to heal. Super itchy right now LOL. It is nice to see other people with high A1C's being able to get tattoo's that turn out great. :) Let me know if you get anymore :D

jayabee52 2012-02-28 14:25:44 -0600 Report

I am giving some thought to having a tat done on my left arm saying "no needlesticks or Blood pressure on my left arm diallysis fistula on left inside wrist" (and maybe even circle the area where the "thrill" is)

I am wondering if the needlesticks needed for a tat would potentially mess up my fistula.

Bobby C,PED
Bobby C,PED 2012-02-19 01:17:59 -0600 Report

Not sure about that. All I can say is that 6.5 to 7 is normal. 9 is awful high. I am not such a big fan of any tattoos, why not a braclet?

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-19 11:05:08 -0600 Report

I never remember to wear it and I am always losing it. I have gone through 4 just this year. So it just wasn't a good option for me. Yes 9 is high but for me it is low. Iam usually a 12. I have been a 12 for years. So bringing it to a 9 is awesome for me.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-18 17:35:39 -0600 Report

I added the pic of what will be the rest of my tattoo if it heals well. It is in my pictures so check it out and tell me what you think. ( Also I breed Yorkies and Silky Terriers. So check out some of there pics. I have 2 liters a year. 1 Yorkie and 1 Silky Terriers.)

Nick1962 2012-02-18 18:55:59 -0600 Report

That actually looks real good for being as fresh as it is. Nice art too and good work! I've seen a lot of junk researching my own.

Caroltoo 2012-02-18 18:02:03 -0600 Report

Enjoyed your pictures. Used to raise teacup poodles so aware of the small size. Hard to believe those "babies" came from that mom. They are all darlings (your boys, too).

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-19 11:03:01 -0600 Report

Thanks, She is a very small Silky Terrier. The average size of a silky is anywhere from 8-12 pounds. So the pups were right where they should have been size wise. It was funny though to see her so small with such big puppies. She is almost 7 pounds. Now my Yorkies are small. My male is only 2.8 pounds and my female is tracking to be about 5 lbs full grown so we will see. Thanks

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-02-18 13:30:32 -0600 Report

Great tatoo, but are you sure you want everyone to know it? There maybe jobs, situations where you may need to rethink that. Some employers don't hire people with tatoos due to their company image as well as how it will make customers and other employees feel. You wouldn't want to be excluded due to a condition. It may sound good now, but will you stil be happy with it 10 or 20 yrs from now.

Think about it clearly before getting it, or put it where only you can see it.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-18 09:10:39 -0600 Report

I posted my pic on my profile :)

Young1s 2012-02-18 11:46:47 -0600 Report

It's huge but it's cute. I think that will do the job. Must've hurt like the dickens though.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-18 17:12:53 -0600 Report

Actually didn't hurt at all :) I decided to go a little bit bigger than I originally planned so I could add more detail. Going to watch to see how it heals and if it heals well I will be going back to add to it. Going to add a insulin syringes and insulin vials that will say Insulin Junky. We drew out the picture but i decided to only do a part of it to see how long it took me to heal instead of going huge the first time. I have been tweaking my tattoo design now for like 10 years so I am sure this is what I want. :D I will add a pic of what else I will be adding on my arm it is just a rough design as I had them trade out the hearts in the background for insulin vials. I will add it to my pics if you want to look at it.

jayabee52 2012-02-18 17:21:10 -0600 Report

may I suggest that you add "Type 1" to the Diabetes? Puts the insulin junkie into better context. JMO.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-18 17:30:35 -0600 Report

Yea I have thought about it. We will see. The only reason I like Insulin Junky is cause it is a big family joke cause I am always giving myself shots or messing with my pump. When people ask what is she doing or why is she doing that they always say oh she is a insulin Junky LOL

pixsidust 2012-02-17 20:32:46 -0600 Report

Glad you like it and are happy! Bracelets do not have to be ugly. Look at the pictures of my two on my profile. I have a license plate holder that says Diabetic Driver because the window stickers fade. I am type two and have some lows and am pretty quick on them but do not want the police thinking I am drunk. Congrats on lowering your A1c!

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-17 14:36:19 -0600 Report

I just got done with my Tattoo and I love it. I will post pics here soon :)

Caroltoo 2012-02-17 15:15:38 -0600 Report

Glad you are happy with it! Looking forward to pictures soon as the healing happens.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-18 17:31:47 -0600 Report

I plan on adding a pic every week so you can see how it does.

Caroltoo 2012-02-18 18:46:07 -0600 Report

Will look forward to that. Good luck with it. Are you doing anything extra in terms of care of it because of your diabetes? Don't know that you need to, I'm just curious about your approach.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-19 11:06:44 -0600 Report

Just washing it a couple more times a day than the average person. But besides that just the normal tattoo care really.

door331 2012-02-17 09:44:42 -0600 Report

Ok, unlike most of the comments I believe a tattoo is a great idea. I am going to actually attempt to answer your question. Here is a great link over at D-Mine that talks about this exact question. He says an A1C over 9 is a No but if you could drop it just a little an 8 would be good. Most of that is based on the fear your body won't heal as well but I see you don't believe that will be a problem.

Keep in mind you should also talk to your tattooist. Many experienced tattoo artists have dealt with similar issues with people that have skin conditions or difficulty healing. I talked to mine and he expressed the same concerns if a diabetic client has a high A1C. I have not gotten mine yet because I am still working on the design.

I also have a few links of other peoples medic alert tattoos if you are looking for some inspiration. Just send me a msg.


Armourer 2012-02-17 06:05:29 -0600 Report

I use a necklace type, it's ugly, but I have to many highs & lows, and a tendency to faint from BP bottoming out. EMTs would hopefully see the metal necklace and bracelet over a tattoo I would think. What will the tattoo look like? Do you like it? It's going to be there a long, long time. My dad had a tattoo on his forearm for crossing the equator in the Navy during WWII. He said it was his worst mistake of his life. Guess weigh the pros & cons, and think it over again and again.

Armourer 2012-02-17 05:56:56 -0600 Report

I guess what does the tattoo look like, and do you mind it being there years down the road? My dad got a tattoo when he crossed the equator in the Navy during WWII, and said it was the biggest mistake he ever made. Will EMTs see the warning, or just shrug it off cause they a looking for a bracelet or necklace. I wear a necklace 24/7. Wouldn't be without it cause I'm constantly high or low. Only had to use it once when my blood pressure hit way low and I was nearing passout. I thought it was low BG. Up to you.

diabetesfree 2012-02-16 23:54:14 -0600 Report

I definitely think that anyone with Type 1 should have some type of MedicAlert ID. Even on your wrist though, I think that most Doctors and first responders would be more likely to spot a metal MedicAlert ID on you than a tattoo. I use the dog tag type. I realize that the chain/dog tag is an option that you would not want to wear around your neck, but they can be pretty easily adapted to be worn as an ankle bracelet or be attached to your shoes. Obviously wouldn't look very good in high heels though! Next to that, a key ring, cellphone or wallet would probably be something you would usually have with you that you could carry it on.

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2012-02-16 23:29:53 -0600 Report

You might want to at least try to carry an alert key chain with you, you can attach it to your purse or coat or keys so it can be found. I do plan on getting a tattoo that says I am diabetic as well to have as well as my pendant because I worry about my necklace slipping of or the chain breaking in a bad car accident or something as this has happened before with regular jewelry, from my research the only concern with having high A1Cs or high blood sugar is the fact that you heal slower which can allow for an infection to set in which can mess up the tattoo a bit. If you don't really have a healing issue then get one and take care of it properly and you should be fine.

MEGriff1950 2012-02-16 21:46:13 -0600 Report

Elizabeth, I used to be a firefighter first responder. The first thing we were taught to look for during emergiencies is medical alert necklaces or bracelets. I suggest that maybe you get a necklace with a very long chain and never take it off. That is what I do then I can wear other necklaces at the same time and the "ugly" does not show. I don't think most emergency personal would be looking for a tatoo. Even though your diabetes is out of control you should always have an alert on you, you will never became a non diabetic even if you manage to get your A1C down to 5.
As far as healing from a tatoo most people I know who got them appeared to have really bad sunburns. They are not deep wounds. With high BG you would not bleed very much as your blood is thick.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-16 22:04:43 -0600 Report

Thanks for the advise but I do not wear any jewelery except my wedding ring as they bug the crap out of me. I have a severe anxiety disorder and the thought of the necklace rubbing my neck makes my skin crawl LOL. That is another reason I hardly ever wear my bracelet. The tattoo will be on the inside of my wrist so I do not think you could miss it.

digitaldoorbell 2012-02-16 21:52:46 -0600 Report

There are many Type 2s who control their BG with diet and exercise alone. My thought is that there is no point having a necklace, or whatever, when you don't need or use insulin or diabetic medication(s).

Am I correct?

MEGriff1950 2012-02-17 10:49:51 -0600 Report

Digital, just because you are in control does not mean that you do not need to alert medical personal. In, God forbid, you are in a severe accident the emergency and hospital crew needs to know that you are diabetic so that they can monitor your condition. Should a diabetic become unconscience for a time the medications administered in an IV could affect the control that you have now.
A medical alert bracelet or necklace is not to alert the world around you but for emergency purposes. They have and do save lives. Diabetics are not the only people that use medical alerts. They are important.

dietcherry 2012-02-17 12:27:16 -0600 Report

Hello Mary! I think this is the best answer Ive seen to this question!

Please post it as a Discussion so it doesnt get lost here in a discussion about tattoos and A1c—Its very valuable :)

digitaldoorbell 2012-02-17 11:07:26 -0600 Report

Thank you. I was unsure because, being relatively new to diabetes, I thought it was to alert the need for insulin or other medication(s).

I appreciate the thoughtful answer.

All the best.

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2012-02-16 23:31:32 -0600 Report

Just because you can control it with diet and exercise does not mean you do not have it. And as a diabetic some drugs run higher risks of creating dangerous highs and lows simply because your body handles them differently.

Elizabethabrb 2012-02-16 22:01:09 -0600 Report

I use insulin daily. I am insulin dependent.

digitaldoorbell 2012-02-17 11:58:00 -0600 Report

Asking "why" is not rude (otherwise, as you initiated that very question you would be "rude"). We talk about all sorts of things here that should be asked to a doctor. Secondly, the question wasn't to her…as evidenced by the several others who understood and responded more meaningfully than you.

Nick1962 2012-02-16 20:44:19 -0600 Report

I've heard of some getting tattoos versus a medic alert bracelet, even elaborate tattoos indicating your condition.
I'm a T2 and heal well and am also thinking of a tattoo (non-diabetic). Check with your doctor, but your A1c should have no bearing, other factors may.
Congrats on lowering the A1c - keep it up!
Oh, and welcome! Sorry you qualify for admission to our little party, but sure glad you're here!

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