Monday, February 6, 2017

Question Corner: What's a medical alert bracelet?

I was recently diagnosed with diabetes and I want to ensure I do everything possible to stay safe. I heard about medical bracelets, can you tell me more about them and if that's something you recommend. Also, what other measures I can take to ensure safety?
Thanks, Anonymous 
Dear Anonymous, 

A medical bracelet or necklace to identify health conditions is a wonderful investment. Their essential purpose is to provide first responders with a quick overview of your medical conditions, allergies and medications to ensure safe and effective treatment in an emergency situation, thus reducing treatment errors and unnecessary testing.

In addition, once emergency personnel recognize a MedicAlert ID, they call 24/7 Emergency Response Center and are immediately connected to your medical history, ensuring you receive proper medical care and reducing the risk of treatment errors. The initial product purchase includes one free year of "My MedicAlert Services" ensuring your health information is made available in the event of an emergency. Please refer to for more detailed information.   There are other options for medical identification, cards or non-MedicAlert identifiers which may be less expensive, but will not have the telephone backup information.
It is also important to remember that you may set up a Medical ID on your smartphone, which allows you to create a medical profile that is accessible from the lock screen. This is another quick way for people to access your health history if you are unable to share it with them.   This option is secondary to the medical alert jewelry because you may not have your phone with you at all times or during an emergency. Additionally, it is not certain that Emergency Response Personnel will check your phone to see if there is a Medical ID.

Since we are discussing how to stay safe with diabetes, I'd like to mention the importance of glucose tablets and glucagon kits for people with type 1 diabetes. All people with any type of diabetes should carry glucose tablets, hard candy such as lifesavers or 4 ounce juice boxes to treat low blood sugar.  Discuss with your healthcare team what is best for you.   Stay safe!

Kind regards,
Victoria Abram, RN, CDE

Victoria Abram RN,CDE earned her nursing degree from Adelphi University. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with patients with diabetes and has a comprehensive knowledge of and experience in prediabetes, diabetes, prevention, and management. She recognizes the importance of assessing educational needs and each individual's readiness to learn.