Diabetes, Tattoos, Medic Alert Symbols.. Oh, My!

Hello Friends,

I am rather new to this community but already feel comfortable and read to get to know all of you! The reason for this blog post is to get some feedback/opinions from you guys. I am planning on getting a tattoo to represent me but also alert medical professionals if ever need be. For a while, I did not agree with displaying my disease and hated the fact that it was a constant reminder… as if I needed to myself every day that I am a type 1 diabetic. It was not until I joined this community that I realized I should embrace this condition and inform others that I have been able to fight this battle since I was 18 months old (I am almost 24). Me not ever wearing a medical alert ID is silly and rather irresponsible so why NOT get a tattoo?

With all that said, do you all think it is necessary to have the medical alert symbol included? As of right now, I am looking to getting the text “type 1 diabetic” only but am unsure if anything should be added to that. I know it’s a personal preference but I just wanted to see what you all thought! I am particularly picky about the symbol itself and have only really found two that I have considered getting. Thanks so much for your help with this! Looking forward to what you have to say. :slight_smile:

Alexis A.

Yeah, i don’t know. I’ve been on the fence about getting (a new) tattoo as well, but i’m stuck on design. Looking back at history of diabetes, one thing that strikes me is that the name and symbols aren’t really consistent. But… most medical professionals will recognize (and hopefully act accordingly if needed) pretty much anything remotely related to medical symbols, either jewelry or tats. Since there’s no one definitive symbol, that pretty much leaves it up to personal choice for design though! Here’s one of my doodles i’m considering for design ideas:

The advantage to a symbol is that it’s not language specific. Unfortunately, there is no globally recognized symbol for specific diseases. The rod and snake and the 6 point star are generally recognized as medical symbols, but they don’t relate to any specific thing, but they are good for a general alert. It would make them ask questions at least.

I would and do just wear a bracelet and dog tags with medical alert on them. There will be a cure for T1DM in our lifetime and tattoos are very tough to get rid of. Just my opinion, I have a brother who has arm and leg sleeves and a neck tattoo so it’s definitely a personal choice.

If you want something that is universal get a medical alert flash drive. They can upload the information and translate it wherever you are. http://www.amazon.com/MedicTag-Digital-Personal-Medical-Device/sim/B000OZCL6W/2

Think long and hard about your decision. You will be reminding everyone 24/7 that you are T1 - when you are at a bar, when you are sitting at a café having lunch with friends, when you are at the beach. Is that what you want to do? Yes, choosing any tattoo is a personal decision. Whatever you decide to do, I hope it will bring you long-term contentment.

I actually have a med alert tattoo on my wrist! Got it when I was 17 though, and want the design re-done. Make sure it’s something you’ll like forever. At the same time, I do not regret getting it at all; it is a conversation starter, but I’ve learned to never be ashamed of my disease. Plus, the more people who are around you on a daily basis that know you’re diabetic, the safer you’ll be. Yes, at times it feels embarrassing to be labeled ‘the diabetic’ but that’s why we all need to accept it as something that’s part of you, but doesn’t define you. Good luck with your tat!

Thank you, everyone, for your feedback. Everything that you all have said has helped me in some way.

Sam- It was really difficult for me growing up as a T1 diabetic especially since no one in my family was diagnosed with the disease nor did I know any one at school with it. But you’re right, it’s something that I need (and have) accepted because it IS a part of me and will be for life. I will keep everyone posted about the results of my tat!

BMD- I have definitely be thinking long and hard about this and will hopefully be beyond satisfied with whatever decision I make. Thank you for your feedback!

SuFu- I didn’t even know these existed! Thanks for sharing this with me as well as your opinion.

kenx- I’ve been on the fence with my tattoo design as well. I keep going back and forth with that idea of even getting a medical symbol at all but feel that it would be the most effective (although it may not be, I think I’d be more comfortable with one). I am loving your design! The blue coloring brings it all together. I was a bit reluctant about getting colored ink (the two tattoos I have now are all black) but I feel that it would be necessary and even eye-catching to get some type of color incorporated into it. I’m leaning toward either red or blue. I will definitely keep you posted with whatever it is I actually decide. Thanks for sharing! :slight_smile: