It's a scenario that many people with diabetes fear: being unable to help yourself because of high or low blood glucose. That's why it's so important to wear a medical ID. "A medical ID can speak for you if you can't speak for yourself," says Marcia D. Draheim, R.N., CDE, president-elect of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and a PWD type 2.
For example, one of Draheim's patients became disoriented from low blood glucose while driving. Fortunately, a medical ID came to the rescue. "Once the highway patrol [pulled her over], they read 'diabetic' on her medical ID and immediately knew how to help her," Draheim says.
Always Wear Your Medical ID
The one day you choose not to wear an ID might be the very day you need it.
"The challenge for diabetes educators like me lies in motivating people to wear medical ID 24/7," Draheim says. Finding one that you like enough to wear every day is key. Many people dislike wearing their diabetes on their sleeve -- or around their neck.
Fashion-forward IDs may be more appealing to some, including Sheri Gouterman's 11-year-old son, T.J. "He refused to wear a traditional ID but was more than willing to wear a trendy bead necklace with the medical charm in the middle," Sheri says.
Make Sure It's Clear
Medical IDs now include temporary tattoos, beaded bracelets, and stretchy silicone wristbands. You can wear an ID around your neck or ankle, tied to the laces of a sneaker, or fastened to a jacket zipper. But before you let fashion sense overrule common sense, heed Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps member Bob Coulombe: Emergency responders need to see and recognize the ID as a warning symbol so they can treat you.
"Simpler is better," Coulombe says. "If your ID looks too much like fancy jewelry, we may not recognize it as a medical ID."