In this blog we will explain the benefits of wearing a medical bracelet for your Addison’s Disease or adrenal insufficiency; how it can help you in your daily life, as well as providing you with an easier option for communicating your condition to others.
What is Addison’s Disease?
Addison’s Disease is a disorder where the adrenal glands in the body do not produce enough hormones. These hormones are known as steroid hormones (such as cortisol) and help to keep your body functioning properly. A lack of these hormones can lead to adrenal insufficiency.
The symptoms of Addison’s Disease include: weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, overwhelming fatigue and exhaustion, nausea, and muscle cramps. You may also find it hard to concentrate and have a poor appetite.
Read more about the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease.
What causes Adrenal Insufficiency?
There are several types of adrenal insufficiency:
If you have Addison’s Disease, you will need to take regular steroid medication, up to several times a day. This helps to replace hormones such as cortisol, which the adrenal gland is not able to make. Without these hormones, the body goes into what is known as adrenal crisis.
Adrenal crisis is caused by level of hormones produced by the adrenal gland become too low, meaning the symptoms of Addison’s Disease will appear suddenly and can be severe. The signs include shallow breathing, low blood pressure, pale skin, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. Adrenal crisis needs to be treated urgently and wearing an item of medical jewellery can help to make sure you receive the treatment you need quickly.
Read more about how to manage an adrenal crisis.
How a medical bracelet can support you in an emergency?
Medical professionals are trained to look for a medical ID tag, so a bracelet or a necklace would be ideal as they are worn at your pulse points. They can include important medical information such as your medical condition, details of your medication and contact details in case of emergency. This ensures you receive the right treatment when needed, while keeping in touch with your family.
Do I need a medical bracelet if I have Addison’s Disease or Adrenal Insufficiency?
Steroids replace cortisol.
Since Addison’s Disease prevents you from producing enough hormones, patients with this condition have to rely on Hydrocortisone to replace their cortisol.
Addison’s Disease UK recommends that those with adrenal insufficiencies carry their daily medication, along with an emergency injection kit in case of an adrenal crisis. It is also important to carry a steroid alert card, and to wear medical alert jewellery. The steroid card makes medical workers aware that you take regular steroid medication, and that this cannot be stopped.
A medical bracelet will also allow medical workers to be alerted to your condition, and the treatment which you may need. You can include details of the type of steroid medication which you are taking if you wish.
If you have Addison’s Disease, lower levels of cortisol can cause you to experience brain fog and you may find it difficult to concentrate. If this is the case, it can be difficult to keep track of when you need to take your medication.
It is important to wear a medical bracelet with details of your condition so that if you become unwell, those around you can find out which condition you have and help you to receive the right treatment. They may also be able to use your medical bracelet to locate your emergency medication kit.
Don’t stress, just breathe.
An adrenal crisis can be brought on by experiences which are stressful for your body, such as infections, being dehydrated or a traumatic event. During a stressful event, you may also miss a dose of your medication, which could lead you to become unwell.
In an emergency, paramedics will look for items such as a medical bracelet. This can help them to recognise you are experiencing an adrenal crisis and they will be able to administer lifesaving treatment as quickly as possible.
A rare condition.
According to Addison’s Disease UK, roughly 1 in 10,000 people are affected by this condition. While Addison’s Disease is rare, it is important to know you are not alone.
Wearing a medical bracelet ensures that emergency workers do not misinterpret your condition with another. If you are unconscious, they will be able to treat you quickly, using the details on your medical bracelet rather than spending time working out the cause of you becoming unwell.
What should I engrave on my Addison’s Disease / Adrenal Insufficiency bracelet?
You may wish to include your name, any other medical conditions you have, medications which you take, and details of where to find your emergency injection kit. Including text that explains your steroid dependency is important, as this can help to make sure that medical staff correctly identify your condition as Addison’s Disease / Adrenal Insufficiency, and it is not mistaken for something else.
If you don’t want to include too many personal details, selecting a more subtle medical bracelet with just the details of your condition, such as ‘Addison’s Disease’ or ‘Adrenal Insufficiency’ will still enable paramedics to treat you quickly in an emergency.
Many of our bracelets have a metal charm, meaning that if your medication changes you can purchase a replacement charm with the updated details.
We also recommend that all medical bracelets or necklaces include a medical symbol. This means that if you become unwell or experience an adrenal crisis, those around you can find your medical alert bracelet and information about your Addison’s Disease / adrenal insufficiency. Symbols will also attract the attention of medical staff and help them to understand your condition and the treatment which you need.
Why the blue butterfly is the symbol for Addison’s Disease?
For those with Addison’s Disease, a blue butterfly is seen as the Addison’s ‘mascot’, as butterflies are seen as symbols of new beginnings. This reflects how your diagnosis of Addison’s Disease can feel like the beginning of a new stage in your life, as you learn how to manage new changes. You may wish to include a butterfly symbol as a custom engraving on your medical bracelet or necklace. Just drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org to ask if this is possible on the jewellery you have chosen.
If you prefer not to have a medical symbol and to keep your medical jewellery discrete, please just ask and we will do this for you if we can.
Where can I go for more support?
Not only does Addison’s Disease affect you physically, but it can also affect you emotionally. Receiving a diagnosis and learning how to manage this condition can feel overwhelming, but there are places you can go to for support. You may find it helpful to read about other people’s experiences with Addison’s Disease as well.
Addison’s Disease UK have some helpful tips on reducing the stress of a long-term condition. They explain how it can be useful to use positive memories to help you to feel safer and more relaxed. Using these memories can help you to feel calmer in an overwhelming situation.
According to Rare Disease UK, 1 in 17 people will be affected by a rare disease at some point during their lives. It is important to remember that you are not alone, there are others who will be going through the same experiences as you. Becca contributed to the Addison’s Disease UK blog, describing her diagnosis of Addison’s Disease, and her recent accomplishment of a 10-mile walk. Becca highlights the challenges of living with Addison’s Disease but emphasises that this diagnosis does not define you, or your achievements.
Another great way to connect with others who have medical conditions is by listening to podcasts. Sophie-Louise speaks about her diagnosis of secondary adrenal insufficiency on the ‘My Rare Disease’ podcast. This podcast was created to raise awareness of chronic illnesses and rare disease, empowering individuals, and creating a shared space for those going through a similar thing. Have a listen to the episode, and find out more about the podcast.
If you have a child with Addison’s Disease / adrenal insufficiency, you may feel worried about how their medical needs will be met when they are at school. Marguerite Haye has written a useful blog for the Special Needs Jungle. This includes advice about how to make sure your child receives their medication at school, and extra measures which school staff may need to be aware of or put into place during the school day to support your child’s wellbeing.
Try Yoga or Breathing Control.
Learning about other people's experiences can help you to manage your own wellbeing. You may find new ways to cope with Addison’s Disease, such as yoga. Suzanne Warren describes how yoga helps her to relax and control her breathing, which eases any stress or tension which she is feeling. Often, stress can be a trigger for conditions such as Addison’s Disease. You may find that yoga is an enjoyable way to manage this. Have a read of Suzanne’s blog in more detail.
If you have Addison’s Disease or adrenal insufficiency, wearing a medical bracelet or necklace allows you to feel like yourself again. You can choose your own style, design and engraving to let other people know how to help you in an emergency. Equally, friends and family members are reassured by the knowledge they can keep in contact with you. Have a browse of our full range of medical jewellery.
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