I want opinion on getting a medical alert tattoo?

By KG66 Latest Reply 2012-08-13 14:43:39 -0500
Started 2012-08-02 21:26:29 -0500

Hey everyone!

So I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about a year ago and I am pretty good at putting on my medical alert bracelet everyday, however I find it annoying! When I'm working it get's caught on everything and since I have small wrists I have a hard time finding ones that really fit. I don't really like the idea of a necklace either :P Anyways I was wondering if anyone could give me there opinion on getting a medical alert tattoo. It would help me out a lot! :)

Thanks! :D

Tags: diabetes

111 replies

roshy 2012-08-13 14:43:39 -0500 Report

ive had type one for over 8 years and i never felt the need wear any medical id. i suppose if i was given a pretty chain or bracelet id wear it but dont really see th urgancy in having ID. Im on a pump now so iguess thats something thats a hint if i ever did get into trouble. Everyone i know knows that im an IDDM. If i was told to wear something by work i would but a tatoo is too perminent in my opinion but i can see the advantages!!!!

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-08-07 19:57:39 -0500 Report

You need to take in to account what type of job you have or may have in the future. There are so many fields that either will not hire you at all or will let you go, because they feel tattoo's are unprofessional and bring a negative tone to their company, or they will require you to cover the tattoo up during work hours/buisness related activities. Either way it is legal for them to do this.

Next, are you ready for everyone to know your buisness as well as the stupid ideas those that don't understand diabetes will constantly blast you with, and the looks/talk that will be geared towards you? This info will also put some people off and cause them to look at you as a weak person and pass you up for things and promotions, etc..

If you are not concerned with any of this, then I say go for it!! Just have it done in a place that has no problems reported and is clean.

KG66 2012-08-07 20:07:32 -0500 Report

I'm going into a job field where they usually don't mind! It's not a high class job at all :P As for everyone knowing my business…well, people can say what they want about me! I don't care anymore. I've had so many other problems that I learned not to care what people think! Most people know I can be strong! I've been through so much and I know it's just going to get tougher! I'm up for a challenge! It keeps life interesting! :) People already stare at me! Especially if I'm on the beach in a bikini and they see my pump! Now those are some funny looks! Like I said I don't care! Because I will probably never see any of those people again! Is it weird that I look at things that way?

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-08-08 05:47:26 -0500 Report

Nope, you have the right to your opinions as well as how open/close you want to be about your diabetes. I do wonder though, since you feel this way, why ask what anyone thinks if you want the tattoo? Just get it and live with it, that's all we can do in life anyway:) I just wanted to throw some things out there for you to ponder before deciding. There is a male member who got one a few months back, but I don't remember who. Maybe you can find it or one of our other member's will do it for you and then you can ask him how it's working for him?

I'm sure some of the looks at the beach are really intertaining, and good for you for not feeling like you need to not wear or hide your pump at the beach.

KG66 2012-08-08 08:51:54 -0500 Report

I just wanted opinions, and being diabetic I wasn't even sure if we could get tattoos :P So I figured I'd ask, and thanks! :) I'm not afraid to show it to the world! If they don't like it then they don't have to talk to me! :P

dietcherry 2012-08-07 21:56:05 -0500 Report

No its not weird its wonderful—-be exactly who you are and dont apologize for it. Most folks are too self-absorbed to worry about what anyone else is doing anyway lol :-)

pixsidust 2012-08-06 22:32:29 -0500 Report

If not a tattoo. I have a small handmade food grade aluminum bracelet
It measures 6 inches and while my wrist is 7.25 inches it holds on quite well with no flopping. Its stamped with diabetic on it. Its soft and custom molds to your wrist. I put a picture on my profile. I asked someone on Etsy to custom make it for $7 and $2 shipping

IronOre 2012-08-06 21:48:14 -0500 Report

and one more tattoo comment in general.
Depending on what you will do for a living, there are many occupations that require all tattoos to be covered up ~ and I don't think medical tattoos are an exception.
So be careful about that.

sharon7112 2012-08-06 20:33:45 -0500 Report

I say do it but heed the warning of the members suggesting being careful of the healibg factor. I would ask you dr. about tats and such. I personally have had diabetes 39 yrs and got 3 tats with no probs. Good luck!!!

margokittycat 2012-08-06 18:44:49 -0500 Report

Everyone has thier own way of alerting people to thier diabetes condition if a tat is what you want than only you can make that decission. I do caution you to be under good control as infection and what not can set in and not heal. Blood poisoning is not something that is good for a diabetic. I had surgery two months ago and I was in control and somehow I ended up 6 weeks later getting staph and having to under go heavy heavy drug treatments with IV and pills. Please be careful whatever decission you make.

Troope 2012-08-06 14:13:07 -0500 Report

I say do it. I got a large tattoo on my upper arm in color well after i started taking insulin. Had no problems. Love this idea. Might do it myself.

Nick1962 2012-08-06 14:25:58 -0500 Report

Not to stray off topic, but can i ask what you got? I'm thinking of one myself.

Troope 2012-08-06 14:38:28 -0500 Report

Absolutely! I got something that was entirely personal. It was two cherubs/angels around a rose holding a banner with the name Carly on it. For my daughter. It is the only one i have, but i would love to get a few other things.

judy makowski
judy makowski 2012-08-06 10:49:05 -0500 Report

The only thing I would caution you about is the healing. I know I heal much slower than I used to and have advised not to get any tats. That of course doesn't mean you shouldn't. If you are in good control and your doc says to go ahead do it. I have a bracelet from the Medic Alert Foundation and it is to large now that I have lost so much weight so I'm going to take it to a jeweler and have them shorten it. You could also use a safety pin and pin it to your wallet or waistband etc.

Nana_anna 2012-08-06 09:09:08 -0500 Report

I had a friend on Face book that actually asked this question. She got good results. She actually went and got her medical tatoo for diabetes. Its nice for her. I just wouldn't go through the pain.

samiks82 2012-08-05 20:22:33 -0500 Report

I was in poor control when i got my first tat. It healed fine. The seconed one i will get is something on my wrist that says im diabetic and my diagnosis date.

IronOre 2012-08-06 21:49:20 -0500 Report

why the diagnoses date?

samiks82 2012-08-06 21:59:53 -0500 Report

Its a symbolic date for me. I was 10 yrs old. Now im 6 weeks away from 30. I recently read someplace online that people with diabetes are higher up in evelotion then people without. Also cancer and other non cureables rank up there also. Wish i could remember where i found the artical.

TwoMINIFamily 2012-08-05 14:17:33 -0500 Report

That should actually be safe to get one. Darn auto correct

old biker
old biker 2012-08-05 15:04:07 -0500 Report

That's a good question..All of mine except for the last 2 were done before I was diagnosed with diabetes. There are some valid concerns expressed by the tattoo artists…Size location and your A1c all are a factor..Go to google and google in getting a tattoo with diabetes..There are a number of articles which answer that very question

TwoMINIFamily 2012-08-05 14:16:45 -0500 Report

I've contemplated getting a tattoo, but not a medical alert one and I've been told by some tattoo artists that they won't do it because of potential risks involved.

So my question is how saw is it to actually get one?

dietcherry 2012-08-05 17:05:47 -0500 Report

Your BG numbers should be in good control as we all know when they arent we have lowered immunity and healing time can increase and infections become more common.

JSJB 2012-08-05 07:13:12 -0500 Report

Information changes and you can not erase a tatoo.

jpnairn 2012-08-06 14:48:40 -0500 Report

Yes. I hear there is a cure coming very soon. I've actually been hearing that for 38 years.
Seriously, though, it's a pretty good bet you're diabetic for life. If you ever do get cured, you could just add "ex-" before diabetic.

KG66 2012-08-05 10:25:04 -0500 Report

The place where I planed on going (if I did get one) has tattoo removal. It probably cost a lot though!

JSJB 2012-08-06 17:50:10 -0500 Report

Before you get it check the price of removing it and the scar that is left on you skin. I know three people who had a tatoo removed and instead of a tatoo they have a scar.

old biker
old biker 2012-08-04 14:19:04 -0500 Report

As soon as an EMT looks at my medical alert bracelet they are going to know my name.I'm diabetic, what type of insulin I use, that I'm not allergic to medication, and who to contact and their phone number..Thats way to much information for a tattoo. I also have a medical alert card stapled to the inside of my wallet, they can't miss it

KG66 2012-08-04 17:40:26 -0500 Report

The only info on my bracelet right now is diabetic type 1 :P I wear a pump as well so most of the time doctors (or medics) can tell right away that I have diabetes and let's face it! I'm a typical 18 year old who wants the tattoo experience! I just thought it would be better to get something useful! :P

old biker
old biker 2012-08-05 08:20:11 -0500 Report

Go for it girl..Tattoos have the power and magic all their own they decorate the body and soul. I have over 30 of them and each one has it's own story :-) But please still carry a medical alert card in your wallet..Much luck and success in journey through life

dietcherry 2012-08-04 12:56:22 -0500 Report

I was searching for the small Diabetic stickers I use on my license and found these; check them out everyone! I dare you not to laugh, cry…or both—-WE ROCK!!!! (So good I had to pinch one for my profile)


jimLE 2012-08-04 12:15:01 -0500 Report

as you pointed out.you have small wrist and at the same time it's hard for ya to find one that fits while it gets caught on things.i think there are some wrist bands tht are resizable.so if you cant find one that you can shorten to fit..then a medical alert id tatoo is a good idea..and tatoos are noticable if thier in the open and the color(s) stand out..if you decide to go with a tatoo.might want to locate a id braclet that reads medical alert type 1 diabetic,and use that for the tatoo..and of course use some design in some way or another to go with it..

KG66 2012-08-04 17:43:16 -0500 Report

Thanks for your opinion! I've been doing a lot of research on bracelets, tattoos and everything medical alert related! :P

dietcherry 2012-08-04 00:40:37 -0500 Report

Here is a good link and should give you a lot to think about!


JSJB 2012-08-06 17:58:21 -0500 Report

It was a good article, so I guess it is up to the person with this condition to get a tatoo or not

dietcherry 2012-08-06 21:05:06 -0500 Report

Yeah thats what it left me thinking too. It may save your life or it may not but its still the choice of the individual.

dmike1 2012-08-03 19:49:43 -0500 Report

I have thinking about getting a med alert tattoo. If I get one I Am getting the med alert symbol on my left hand between my thumb and forefinger with a chain going to my wrist. On my wrist under my watch will be diabetic.

KG66 2012-08-03 19:52:04 -0500 Report

That actually sounds really cool! Very creative too! I was thinking of just something plain an simple for myself but I like your idea! :P

DeanaG 2012-08-03 14:39:20 -0500 Report

I made my own medic alert bracelet using Italian charms. I bought 2 that have the Caduceus symbol and 1 that has the symbol and says Diabetic. I found the charms on Amazon.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-03 22:07:47 -0500 Report

Deana, a lady came to our table at the flea market and her bracelet was shot after 13 years. She had a Tiffany style with a heart charm with Caduceus on it. She was also a Cancer Survivor so I made her bracelet with the white beads that have the pink ribbon symbol, clear Swarovski Crystals and used her charm and gave her a discount because she is diabetic and a cancer survivor. She loved it.

I looked into the Italian Charms but can't get them in bulk for a good price from our various wholesalers. However, I will remake ones that have been made for people at a lower cost.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-03 11:15:57 -0500 Report

That is your decision. As a former EMT I would advise you to have it in a place that would be easily noticed. Unless you are in a situation that requires cutting off your clothing, it would not be seen. You should also carry a card in your wallet and on your cell phone list an emergency number under the name Emergency. You can also take your bracelet to a jeweler and have it fitted or if you know someone who can make jewelry you can have them refit yours into something with gemstones. Make sure your wrist is measured. I would remake it for you if you were close to where I live.

lotsadogs 2012-08-03 16:51:16 -0500 Report

Agree with Joyce. I was an emt I for awhile. Tatoos were not something we'd check. Wallet cards and bracelets yes. Even necklaces not always unless obvious.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-03 18:14:51 -0500 Report

lotsadogs searching for tattoos is not in the SOP so a medic isn't going to search for one. The smart thing to do is have the bracelet made to fit properly and to carry a card. I wear bracelets and watches everyday and I never get them caught on any thing. If you are right handed wear the bracelet on the left wrist. I would not rely on a tattoo. Furthermore if the diabetic crashes his or her vehicle while having a crisis the last thing a medic is going to think about is a tattoo.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-03 21:58:55 -0500 Report

They are not going to look for a tattoo. It isn't part of the training. There are people covered in tattoos and if one of them is a medical alert they are not going to spend time looking at every tattoo to find it. You have to do what you choose to do and hope it is noticed if something happens. Make sure you carry a card with you at all times. A bracelet would stand out under your sleeves a tattoo won't so they will next check for a necklace or a necklace.

KG66 2012-08-03 22:18:11 -0500 Report

I also wear a pump though…would medics know I'm diabetic from that? I always wear it on the outside of my pants never in my pocket. Now I'm just curious about everything :P

KG66 2012-08-03 11:24:19 -0500 Report

I would probably put it on my left wrist. I'm going into a course to become a personal support worker and I feel like a bracelet could get in the way… I'm a cashier right now and even then it get's in the way :P Thanks for the tips though! :D

Young1s 2012-08-03 10:35:37 -0500 Report

I haven't been on in a while but I seem to remember one of our female members getting one this past late winter. She posted some good pictures of it too. Sorry I can't remember her name but haven't seen her in a bit. Just remember that she was very happy with the results.

dietcherry 2012-08-03 10:02:59 -0500 Report

If you want one then get one! We have a few DC members with them; a popular tattoo is one of the Caduceus medical symbol. Its a staff with wings at the top and 2 snakes wrapped around the pole with the medical condition(s) incorporated. It looks pretty cool on the inside forearm!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-08-03 18:12:16 -0500 Report

Diet a tattoo would work only if the medics notice it. If it isn't on the arm where an IV would go odds are it would not be seen. I spoke with a former classmate who is now an instructor and they do not train their students to look for a tattoo for the simple reason there are people covered with them. They are trained to look for a bracelet, a necklace or check a wallet or to ask someone with them if they are diabetic or what medical problems the person has.

For instance the person with the tattoo on their forearm, passes out at the mall in the dead of winter and is unconscious. No one knows the person is diabetic. The medics are going to check to first make sure the person is breathing. If an IV is needed and they cut the sleeve on the sweater or coat of the right arm and effectively starts the IV they won't have a reason to check the left arm other than to make sure it isn't injured. They would not see the tattoo. I have taken a lot of people to the ER for some kind of Diabetic related illness. You would be surprised how many have nothing on them to let medics know they are diabetic or even have any kind of ID on them so we don't know who they are or where they live if they were found on the street.

dietcherry 2012-08-04 00:24:05 -0500 Report

Hey I know all this and I didnt say a tattoo should replace medic alert jewelry but it can def serve as a back up. T1s and insulin-dependant T2s should have something proclaiming their status as such and there are plenty of folks who hate jewelry and wont wear it. Something is better than nothing! I also mentioned the Caduceus as it is a recognizable medical symbol.

KG66 2012-08-03 10:20:57 -0500 Report

I've seen those they do look awesome! I'm going to bring picture to the tattoo artist to see what they could do and that's when I will know for sure if I want one or not! :P

Harlen 2012-08-03 10:00:07 -0500 Report

I like mine but I did it myself lol
I have geven difrent typs to frends but the one I like the best is a blue ring with a D in the midle and a small light blue 1 or a 2 beside the D
But it is a thing that you must Like !!!!!
Best wishes

CJ55 2012-08-03 08:40:50 -0500 Report

Nick, thanks for the input regarding the ambulances having laptops with various usb ports. I don't know why they would worry about a virus because it has the forms already made available for us to fill out. I am going to purchase the flash usb bracelet today. I would never have a tatoo. Have a great friday!! CJ. :-)

Nick1962 2012-08-03 09:12:43 -0500 Report

Sure CJ. Computer viruses can infect just about anything, and the concern is that even the forms can become encripted with something. Even hospitals can pass things back through the usb drive to the patient. I have a couple EMT friends who have seen a few of these and love them. One stated he'd plug it into his own I-phone first rather than risk infecting a networked computer. I really like the idea of the usb bracelet - that James, he's pretty high tech for an old guy huh? ;). They also have some pretty snappy necklaces/dog tags.
The USB is a universal device now (hence the name "universal serial bus"), and what I used to carry in a backpack, I now carry on a tiny usb drive the size of a stick of Trident gum. Even plugs into the dasboard of my car. Truly amazing.

lotsadogs 2012-08-03 16:54:08 -0500 Report

I feel really old. When I worked on a truck we had nothing like this. I'm 46.

herigoagain1 2012-08-03 21:30:07 -0500 Report

Now we're all giving away out age. What ever happened to cassettes too. I used to wear a Penicillin allergy necklace and lotsdogs is correct. I work in a hospital and we don't even really pay attention to them. A few years ago they tried to make yellow bracelets mean Do Not Resusitate and they were mistaken for LiveStrong bracelets and caused quite the problem in some states.

Nick1962 2012-08-03 17:22:25 -0500 Report

Haha! :) Don't, I'm older than you and still can't get over the fact that i can carry my complete music collection with me on a key ring. Used to be my back seat was full of maps and a huge box of 8-track tapes if I went on a road trip. Now I just plug my stick in the dash, and the lady in the dash talks to me.

CJ55 2012-08-03 09:30:48 -0500 Report

Hi Nick.. What site has the necklace/dogtags?? I want to check them out. Yes I agree, James is a grest guy. I swear there is nothing that man doesn't know. Lol :-) CJ

CJ55 2012-08-03 14:05:32 -0500 Report

I have checked out the site and I am going to buy 2 of them. I am going to buy the key type one and the credit card one. Thanks a lot for everything. Have a great weekend. CJ. :-)

CJ55 2012-08-03 13:56:36 -0500 Report

What does "chipped" mean?? What does it entail?? It sounds Like it will hurt. CJ. :-)

Nick1962 2012-08-03 14:14:32 -0500 Report

There's a little info about it in the link I posted. Basically, it's a medical radio frequency identification (RFID) chip just a little bigger than a grain of rice that gets implanted under your arm skin. It has all your medical information in it and can be read by medical personnel with a special reader.
Check this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-frequency_...
It actually started for dogs i think, but it has been extended to humans, specifically alzheimers patients. There was a hoax news report that under Obamacare everyone would have to get one by 2013. It's actually scary Star Trek technology, but I can really see this as good for someone like a T1 who has hypo episodes.

CJ55 2012-08-06 07:25:23 -0500 Report

Good Morning Nick.. I went to the site you told me about. I had this done to my dog about 8 years ago. It is pretty cool. For animals, any rescue unit or fire dept or animal shelter can read the ID and call the owner. I am sure it does the same for humans except the Chip would have medical info regarding the person on it. I would worry about hackers or identify theft. In the article it mentioned those two concerns. It was already proven it can be "mocked" by someone else. However, I do think it would be great for children in case they were abducted and adults with Alzheimer's or a medical condition that would affect their memory. Havea great Monday. CJ. :-)

CJ55 2012-08-06 07:37:40 -0500 Report

Nick, yes, it is scary. Especially if it is mandatory by the govt. I do not feel that shouldvbe made to do anything I don't want or approve of. M

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