Living with diabetes blog

Identify yourself with a diabetes medical alert ID bracelet

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. April 10, 2009

Do you feel that just because you have diabetes you're often asked to wear it on your sleeve like a badge? That's understandable, because while diabetes may be a big part of your life it's not the whole you. So, what is all the hoopla about wearing the diabetes medical alert ID? Because it can save your life!

What if:

  • Your blood sugar drops and you become confused or pass out.
  • You're sick, your blood sugar skyrockets and you become confused.
  • You're in an accident and unconscious.

In all these cases, you aren't able to communicate. Medical identification provides important information to the emergency team. It may prevent confusion on the part of the police officer/response team as to whether the confused state is related to alcohol/ drug intoxication and whether you get the appropriate treatment.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people with diabetes wear a diabetes medical alert identification bracelet, especially if you're on a diabetes medication that can lower the blood sugar and cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar reactions).

Yes, they can be ugly, but there are some available that are attractive. Look on the Web, check with your pharmacist or healthcare providers for information on available products. Even some jewelry stores carry them. The price can range from a few dollars to the sky's the limit.

A few tips:

  • Medical alert ID should be visible and recognizable.
  • It should say you have diabetes and take insulin (if you are on insulin).
  • In addition, carry an identification card that includes your name, phone number, and number of your doctor and the diabetes medications and doses you're taking.
  • Add "insulin pump" to the medical alert ID if you wear a pump.
  • Emergency responders may not look in your personal belongings for a identification card, so wearing a visible ID is preferable to only carrying a card.

Do you wear a diabetes medical alert ID bracelet. If so, what type? And if not, why not?

I look forward to your responses.

- Nancy

Apr. 10, 2009