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Importance of Wearing a Medical Alert Bracelet with Diabetes

Medical alert bracelets enable rapid identification of patients with a number of illnesses, including diabetes, which can make them unable to communicate their illness to others, according to Shamai Grossman, M.D., Director of the Cardiac Emergency Center and Clinical Decision Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center).

How They’re Beneficial for People with Diabetes

Medical alert bracelets can be extremely important for people with diabetes.  Should you have a low blood glucose reaction and suddenly become confused or unresponsive, the bracelet allows immediate identification of the problem to both bystanders and paramedics.  The sooner the low blood glucose reactions can be identified, the sooner they can be treated.

Emergency department personnel also use medical alert bracelets to rapidly identify people with diabetes, particularly when they may not be able to express that they have diabetes on their own.  On arrival to an emergency department, one of the routine parts of the evaluation of the critically ill, unconscious, or disoriented patients is to remove their clothing to inspect the body for a cause of their sudden alteration, Grossman says.  In these situations, medical alert bracelets can be invaluable as a time saver.

Information People with Diabetes Should Put on a Medical Alert Bracelet

The message on your medical alert bracelet should be concise and to the point.  “Diabetes” should be engraved boldly on one side.  The other side of the bracelet can have other information such as “insulin dependent” or “medication controlled,” he says.  Other important information can include:

  • An emergency contact number
  • The name of your physician
  • A referral to another place for more information, for example “see wallet card for a full medical history”

Where to Purchase a Medical Alert Bracelet

Medical alert bracelets can be purchased online through multiple Web sites, or can be ordered through many surgical supply stores.  Although attractive medical alert jewelry is now readily available, Grossman cautions that the more elaborate the setting, the more difficult it will be to inform people of your diabetes.

Page last updated: October 02, 2014