Living with diabetes can be challenging, and it's important to have the routines, equipment and the support you need. Since managing this condition can be stressful, this blog will explain why wearing a medical bracelet can make your life easier as it’s a great way to communicate your condition when you cannot.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition which causes your blood glucose (sugar) levels to become too high. Glucose gives us energy, but too much glucose can cause problems.
Insulin is a hormone which allows glucose to enter the cells in our body. Once glucose has entered the bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin so the glucose can go into the cells to provide energy for the body.
With diabetes, this system does not work as it should. Your body may not produce enough insulin or it could produce insulin which is not effective enough for the body.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is caused when blood glucose levels are too high. This is because your body cannot produce insulin.
When glucose enters the bloodstream, it cannot enter the cells in your body as there is no insulin, as explained by Diabetes UK. A build-up of glucose in the bloodstream leads to high levels of blood sugar.
Some of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes include: going to the toilet frequently, feeling very thirsty, tiredness, and unintentional weight loss. Read more about the symptoms of diabetes.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin. This is usually via injections, or you may use an insulin pump. This will help to control your blood sugar levels.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is caused when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin for your body to function normally. It can also be caused by the already produced insulin not working properly.
This means that when glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin, but does not have any effect in the body. The pancreas will then release more insulin, which causes your blood sugar levels to keep rising.
If you have type 2 diabetes, this is often managed by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Diabetes UK describes how this can include eating healthier foods, becoming more active, and maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes type 2 diabetes may be managed with medications or by taking insulin. Read more about treatments for type 2 diabetes.
Living with either type of diabetes can be overwhelming, especially if you have recently received a diagnosis. There are places you can go to for more support, and there are some practical steps you can take to help you to adapt.
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.
Why do I need a medical bracelet if I have diabetes?
Be wary of Hypoglycaemia.
Sometimes, the medication which you take for diabetes can cause your blood sugar levels to become too low. This can cause hypoglycaemia, also known as a ‘hypo’. Symptoms include sweating, dizziness, increased heart rate, weakness, and confusion. In some cases, hypoglycaemia can also lead to a loss of consciousness.
Aside from medication, other causes of hypoglycaemia can be exercise, alcohol, and delayed meals. Diabetes UK recommends that you make your friends and family aware of the signs of hypoglycaemia, in case of sudden onset, or in case you do not recognise the symptoms.
Wearing a medical bracelet can help to make sure that those around you can find the details of your condition if you suddenly become unwell. This helps to avoid the symptoms of hypoglycaemia being mistaken for something else. Read more about diabetes and hypoglycaemia.
Sudden change in blood sugar levels.
Mila Clarke writes about her experiences of wearing a medical bracelet for diabetes on her blog. Mila explains how she felt worried about becoming unwell when she was alone or in public, and what would happen if she did.
Mila also describes how your blood sugar levels can suddenly become very high or low unexpectedly if you have diabetes. Wearing a medical bracelet for diabetes helps Mila to feel safe and means others can understand how to help her if she needs it. Read more from Mila.
Diabetes in children.
If you are a parent of a child who has diabetes, you may feel worried about how to make sure they get the right support at school to look after their blood sugar levels. It is important to communicate with school staff to make sure they know how to help your child with their diabetes.
Children with Diabetes UK provide a range of information about how to make sure your child is supported at school and can help you to connect with other families who may share similar experiences to you.
You may also wish to talk to your child about wearing a medical bracelet, encouraging them to choose a style which they feel comfortable with. This means that they can communicate to others in case of an emergency. You can then feel comfort in knowing that their medical bracelet contains the important information about their diabetes, and their treatment.
If your child is in an out of the pool, or active with sports, then a silicone diabetes bracelet might be a good option. Or you could get a casual cord bracelet to match their school uniform colours.
Read more about managing your child’s diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may also be taking medication to manage your condition. Wearing a medical bracelet can alert others to your condition if you become unwell and can alert medical staff of the type of medication you use.
Find out more about gestational diabetes, and how this is treated.
Which styles can I choose from?
Our range of medical jewellery has been designed to fit in with your lifestyle, and we have a choice of custom bracelets and necklaces. These can be personalised, and you can choose one of our more discreet styles, or something bolder …
Or for a simple wash and wear wristband, if you don't need any personalisation, check out our medical alert wristbands for diabetes.
Most importantly, you can select a design which you like, and you will feel comfortable wearing. Our range is fashionable, and also allows you to feel like yourself again. We have a range of colours and sizes, with the option to select either a standard or a custom engraving option – whichever you feel is best.
Have a browse of our full range of medical jewellery.
What should I engrave on my diabetes medical bracelet?
You may wish to include your name, which type of diabetes you have been diagnosed with, and your treatment details:
- whether you take insulin
- if this is by using a pump or injections
You can also include any other medical conditions which you may have, any other medication which you take, and your emergency contact information.
Including details of your treatment for diabetes is important, as this ensures that medical staff are able to correctly identify your condition. This also means that any symptoms you are experiencing do not get mistaken for something else. They can also make sure that you continue to receive insulin or other forms of medication for your diabetes whilst you are in their care.
In addition, some forms of emergency medical treatment can include giving you glucose, and so your medical bracelet will inform medical staff of your diabetes. This will help you to receive the right treatment for you.
It is also important that your medical bracelet includes information about any other medical conditions which you may have, which medical staff may need to consider when they are administering treatment.
Many of our medical bracelets have a metal charm. This means that if your treatment details change, you can purchase a replacement charm for your medical bracelet, with the updated details. Diabetes UK describe how you may not need to use insulin straight away if you have type 2 diabetes. If you need to start insulin later, choosing one of our medical bracelets with a metal charm will make it easy for you to update your treatment details when you need to.
We also recommend that your medical bracelet or necklace includes a medical symbol. This means that if you become unwell or experience a hypo, those around you will be able to find your medical alert bracelet and information about your diabetes. Symbols will also attract the attention of medical staff, helping them to understand your diabetes and the treatment you need.
The International Diabetes Federation explains how the blue circle is recognised as a symbol for diabetes. The circle is said to represent unity amongst all those affected by diabetes. You may wish to choose one of our cord bracelet styles, so that you can match the colour of the cord to the blue circle symbol. Alternatively, you might choose one of our silicone bracelets, which we have in shades of blue or blue and white. The choice is yours.
If you prefer not to have a medical symbol and to keep your medical jewellery super discrete, please just ask and we will do this for you if we can.
Where to go for more support?
If you have received a diagnosis of type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, you may be feeling overwhelmed or unsure as to how you should manage your condition. It is important to remember you are not alone; according to Know Diabetes, there are nearly 400,000 people in the UK who have Type 1 Diabetes.
You may find it useful to connect with others who also have diabetes, who are likely to share similar experiences to you. Find out more about support groups in your local area. You may also find it helpful to have a read about other people’s experiences with diabetes.
Natalie was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 20. In her post for the Diabetes UK blog, she reflects on her experiences of receiving this diagnosis and the impact this had on her mental health. Read more about Natalie’s experiences.
Finding ways to manage your stress can also help you to manage your diabetes. One way of doing this could be through taking part in yoga, which has been shown to have a positive impact on blood glucose levels. Yoga can also help you to sleep better and reduce feelings of anxiety or depression. Find out more about the benefits of yoga and how you can get involved.
Another great way to connect with others who have diabetes is by listening to podcasts. Jen Grieves founded the podcast ‘Type 1 on 1’, talking to a range of guests about their experiences of living with Type 1 Diabetes. During one episode, Jen speaks with Claire, the founder of ‘Organising Chaos’. Claire designs and sells a range of products and accessories to help you decorate your diabetic supplies.
On the Organising Chaos blog, Claire shares tips and advice for coping with diabetes, including how to avoid diabetes burnout. Claire uses techniques such as keeping a blood glucose diary to help her stay on track of her blood glucose, carbohydrate intake, and her insulin levels. Read more from Claire about managing diabetes burnout.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may feel worried about making changes to lifestyle, such as your diet and exercise routine. Mila created the ‘Hangry Woman’ blog as a space for you go to find support and advice for your diabetes. Mila discusses a range of topics, aiming to reduce the sense of stigma around diabetes. She shares recipes, self-care tips and discusses a range of topics surrounding living with diabetes.
Similarly, if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, Gestational Diabetes UK offers a range of support and advice, including free recipes, and understanding your condition and medication. These pages can be a valuable source of practical and emotional support, as you may feel anxious or unsure about how to manage your condition.
In summary, if you have diabetes, wearing a medical bracelet or necklace can give you the confidence and independence to help you to feel like yourself again. You can choose your own style, design, and engraving to let others know how they can help you in an emergency. It’s also a reassuring way to make sure your friends or loved ones get called first, if anything happens.
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Deciding what information to engrave on your medical bracelet can be confusing if you have more than one medical condition, allergy or medication. It’s important to remember your options to avoid making mistakes.
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