A medical identification (ID) bracelet can save your life, especially if you have diabetes. In an emergency, it provides vital information about your health to first responders when you can’t communicate.
If your blood sugar drops very low (hypoglycemia), you could have trouble speaking. You may get confused or pass out. A medical ID bracelet lets emergency health workers know you have diabetes so they can start appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
Information to Include
Medical ID bracelets range from low tech -- a simple medallion on a bracelet -- to high-tech options with cloud-based storage of your health information. Whatever style you choose, your bracelet should list essential health information, such as:
- Important medications you take (such as insulin)
- Major drug allergies
- Emergency contact information
If you want to provide more information than a bracelet can hold, write it on a card for your wallet. Then, on the bracelet, you can list “more health info in wallet.” Some ideas for what to put on the card:
- Other conditions you have
- Complete list of medications you take
- Location of your living will
Online Information Storage
The company that sells your bracelet may also offer online storage of medical information. In some cases, the cost of the bracelet includes cloud-based storage. In other cases, you pay a membership fee.
Emergency medical workers can access this information in several ways, including websites and toll-free numbers. Some things to consider for your online health profile:
Fashion and Function
On the one hand, it can seem silly to think about fashion when we’re talking about life-saving information. But on the other, nobody wants to broadcast their condition to the world with a big, clunky piece of jewelry.
Companies that make medical ID bracelets know that an attractive piece of jewelry may be important to you. A few of the many styles available include:
- Gold or silver jewelry. You can find medical ID bracelets that look almost like a regular piece of jewelry: silver or gold, with an engraved medallion or charm.
- Silicone bands. These rubber-like bands with a metal tag on the outside are a common choice for fitness activities.
- Kids' bracelets. About 210,000 Americans under age 20 have diabetes. Young kids with diabetes may be more likely to wear medical ID bracelets designed for kids: plastic, comfortable ones with fun shapes.
Keep Your Information Current
Your health changes over time, so be sure to update your medical ID bracelet to reflect that. If you develop a new (and potentially serious) condition, consider a new bracelet. You should also update the information on the card in your wallet or stored online.
- Heart disease, which can cause chest pain or a heart attack
- Heart failure, which means your heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should
- A history or increased risk of stroke
This information, combined with knowledge of your diabetes, can help medical personnel provide the most thorough care possible in those first few minutes of emergency treatment.