Diabetes tattoo

Hi everyone. I have decided to get a diabetes tattoo on my wrist. I can’t stand wearing bracelets, so I’ve decided on a wrist tattoo. I just feel like if I’m ever in a coma or in insulin shock, I should have some kind of indication. I have it narrowed down to a leafy circle with type 1 inside it. It will also say the symbols version of I am greater than my highs and lows. I’m not going to use the word diabetic. I think it might be overkill. Not sure.
I asked a paramedic friend he said he would know exactly what type 1 means.
I’ve searched google and Pinterest. There’s not a lot of new and interesting ones.
Does anyone have something real compelling or an idea.
I’ll attach 2 tattoo pics to give an idea of what I’m currently considering, and I’ll post the mock up when I get it. And the photo when I actually get inked.

Will a paramedic really look at a tattoo?

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Here’s the spiel on tattoos…

I would make it direct. I would use the word diabetic. I don’t think that anybody will know what “type 1” means. We know. But, otherwise, I think its pretty cryptic.

There is a very good chance that a tattoo will not work as effectively as a bracelet or necklace. They have to undress you to see it. They will not be able to feel for it in the dark (on the side of the road). You also can’t take it off and hand it to a bystander if you loose the ability to speak. Paramedics don’t undress people unless they need to. They don’t have time. What if you are semi-conscious? No one is undressing you on a busy street corner.

Paramedics and EMTs are trained to feel for med tags. If they don’t feel it, it doesn’t exist. They do this while they are 'blood sweeping" when you are unconscious. They feel your entire body for wet blood. While they do that, they are also feeling for med tags.

They are likely to feel medical devices, like a dexcom, so that might save you.

Medtags are your paramedics best friend. They contain the most important information that you want them, and the hospital, to know. Medtags contain the info that you don’t want anybody to miss.

I advise wearing med tags.

That being said, I have known two diabetics with tattoos. 1 was a competitive swimmer. 1 had been arrested in high school for carrying syringes after the pet shop next to our work was robbed. We came out late (2 diabetics) after closing the restaurant. He had syringes on him (I prob did too, but they didn’t search me). They thought he was a drug addict who robbed the shop. I was the waitress. He was the dishwasher. He did not rob the pet shop. He was really mad about it and determined that would never happen again.

My biggest concern about a diabetic tattoo (why I have never gotten one) is that I don’t necessarily want everyone to know I am diabetic all the time because they can use that information in an exploitative way. In particular, I would prefer the cops not be looking at that anytime I get pulled over. I think it will cause problems where there otherwise would be no problems.

P.S. I knew someone once who got a Do Not Resuscitate order tattooed on his chest. It was declared to be not a legal document. The courts do not favor unconventional, or ‘creative’ medical documentation.

Protocols exist to prevent mistakes. If you throw a monkey wrench in the protocol, then there are gonna be mistakes. Dog tags are the precursor of med tags and they have existed since the olden days. I would not give anybody any slack for missing med tags. If they missed a tattoo, I wouldn’t hold it against them and I wouldn’t be surprised.

Why don’t you just get a necklaces? I wear that because I can take it on and off.


My issue is that bracelets irritate me esp when I run or hike. The necklaces irritate me when I sweat.
I’ve tried so many different options. None really work and I end up leaving it at home.
This is a really the least I can do. It’s something at least.
I gave up being embarrassed by my T1 many years ago. I do my job well. I never have to stop working for it. I am married with a teenage daughter. And I am active.
If someone judges me for it then I’m ok with it.
it has never been an issue with employment, however I could see where it could be.
I have a company car and I’ll I did was have a doctor sign a form that I have t passed out in 2 years which is really never.
This was all sparked from a car accident I had. The paramedics didn’t notice my pump or my sensor.
I was in pain because I broke some ribs from the seatbelt.
My diabetes never entered my mind until I was on the ambulance and the paramedic gave me an iv and was about to give me dextrose. So I told him no. I’m type 1. He said. You might want to wear something on you wrist so medics will know.
I had short sleeves. He saw no jewelry. He went for the dextrose. He didn’t check my body for tags or pump. I was not unconscious but I was distracted by severe pain.
It only clicked on as he was putting in my IV. Because I know dextrose is standard. My pump had pulled out in the accident so I stuck it in my pocket after the impact. But that dextrose would have put me in dka for sure.

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A paramedic would see it if he is putting in an Iv
They are supposed to check for tags and tattoos.
I only know one paramedic. He’s the only one I asked

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@Timothy I have often considered getting a medical tattoo myself. I haven’t yet for several reasons some of which Ms @mohe0001 has previously stated. As someone who has ended up in the back of medical transportation too many times unconscious with seizures trying out the defib machine (so many I am on the cusp of losing my drivers license forever) I am not taking any chances. I have asked roughly a dozen paramedics in several cities plus our own fire department. Tags and bracelets will e found first, phone if available second, and tattoos last. Seconds count sometimes. I’m not waiting for last - i want to increase my chances of survival. I may still get a tattoo in addition to the dog tag and bracelet that I wear. I hate bracelets - with a passion, and I don’t wear it everyday. The dog tags I do. I have also found a second option for an ID (in addition to MedicAlert) that I can put on my watch band. Will it be effective, who knows, but I am just trying to cover all the bases in case I can’t speak for myself which is usually the case.

One popular brand of medical ID I am a huge fan of since I was smart enough to upload my medical record to their db. My medical record was accessible to first responders and hospital personnel when I was out for 12 hours in the ER. I lost my drivers license that time for 6 months, but not my life. Definitely a win in my book.

You have to do what works best for you. Possibly a bracelet or necklace of your own making with mainstream identifications worked into it might be a better solution as an addition to a tattoo.

If you hate bracelets and necklaces you should check out the inexpensive, lightweight and colourful silicon brackets available on Amazon

I’ve worn bracelets (and necklaces) for over 5 decades. Let’s face it, the metal ones eventually catch on things and break, making them a hassle to wear.

I’ve worn silicon for over a year, it’s light, doesn’t get in the way and best of all highly visible (the white one I’m wearing now glows in the dark).


I have a few. And I wear them when I’m on my own.
One that says type 1 diabetes.
Another says insulin dependent diabetes. They still get tight when I exercise though.

And I still have a super old metal medic alert bracelet that says
Juvenile diabetic
Insulin dependent
Sugar diabetes
What?.. sugar diabetes?
It didn’t seem weird when I got it.
So my tattoo might get outdated if I get one

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Yeah, they don’t check for tags unless your out cold. He prob didn’t even ask because it was not a medical call.

Good catch on your part!

Remember, they could do the IV in either arm.


Sheryl made me get a diabetes related, well actually an everything related tattoo It reads


She insisted I get it on my forehead I guess the paramedics know what it means? She insists all EMT’s know what it means. I dont know for certain.

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Your gonna post a pic when the tattoo heals, right? We gotta see it.

Yes I’ll post it. However I can take a photo immediately. I have another unrelated tattoo and it never scabbed over. However it’s kind of faded and blurry now. But it’s been 16 years.

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Here is the mock up. It will have green leaves.
I’m getting inked on Wed

i took the plunge a few years ago. i had a half sleeve and several others done prior to becoming a type 1. i mostly do it for (what i call) “the normies” in case something happens and my bracelet comes off. paramedics may not see it at first but it couldn’t hurt!


i think of my right arm as a form of personal information :laughing:

Wow you went big. I spoke to a doctor friend who told me tattoos and even bracelets will not change the protocols.
If you are taken by paramedics passed out, thy will give you an iv with dextrose. Weather you are diabetic or not then they do a finger stick. Because that’s the protocol.
Then in the hospital they will draw blood.
My doctor friend said what if a person had that tattoo to support your kid. They can’t rely on it.
I mean I’m still getting it because I do want to tip off whoever is going to find me.
However he makes a good point. They only act on real hard evidentiary data.
So there you go.

Ok here it is, however I will have some green leaves.
It’s mildly medical identification and more a badge of honor.
32 years is a long time to live with T1. I feel like it’s time to just embrace it, and totally accept it. I know others have managed much longer!
I’m going to show it off on my Type 1 hiking group on Thursday. I just hope it comes out ok.

I’ll post it here on Wed night after it’s done

I have heard that looking for the tats is now part of paramedic training.

I’ve heard a lot of both sides of this conversation, some say they have a protocol so it doesn’t matter, something it’s important, I don’t know how it will be received, but I’m getting it

How are they supposed to know T1 refers to diabetes? I think you need the word diabetes in there somewhere for it to be effective, seems more important than T1… I don’t think the symbols below are well known.

Just saying as someone with another health condition that used to have numeric types (recently switched to names, but some still refer to numbers)—Type 1 is not unique to diabetes.

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