Diabetes Forecast

Fun and Fashion-Forward Medical ID Jewelry

By Tracey Neithercott ,

Dressing up diabetes isn't limited to supply bags. Case in point: A handful of companies are offering fashionable takes on the traditional medical alert bracelets. Medical ID Fashions, for instance, offers hundreds of handmade bracelets decorated in beads and medal. Abbe Sennet, who started Medical ID Fashions when she had cancer, sees her role as both artist and advocate.

"People don't realize they could be in an accident and their purse could be thrown away, and the police might not find their medical card," says Sennet, whose father died after hospital staff-unaware of his medical condition-gave him too much medication. "[People] have to protect themselves in difficult situations," she says.

As long as the jewelry you choose has a clear medical plates-say, a metal tag with the Star of Life symbol on it-emergency responders will know that you have specific medical needs. Whether you wear a bracelet or necklace is up to you, but many EMTs look for a bracelet first, says Doug York, NREMT-P, PS, director of the Emergency Medical Services Learning Resources Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. It doesn't much matter which wrist you wear your bracelet on, just that it's easy to find even if you wear other jewelry.

Though she's an artist by trade, Sennet is more concerned with the words people put on the bracelet than the style they choose. She says it's absolutely necessary to list your type of diabetes (and if you take insulin), any allergies you have, and an in-case-of-emergency (written as ICE) contact number. From there, add anything paramedics need to know, including noting any implants-think pacemaker or insulin pumps that shouldn't go in an MRI scanner-and whether you've had bariatric surgery, which will alert paramedics to your smaller stomach. Also helpful for EMTs: mentioning a "do not resuscitate" order or living will if you have one, says York.

As much as Medical ID Fashions is a breath of fresh air in the medical ID arena, Sennet and business partner and husband Olaf Moetus sees the company as more than a style maker. "It's not just a piece of medical accessory," Moetus says. "It puts a smile on your face and makes you feel better about yourself."

Check out these stylish pieces of ID jewelry:

With dozens of black metal beads, this bracelet is understated but also elegant.
Medical ID Fashions Black Shimmy Snake, $49

Thick leather and a floral design give this medical cuff a tough-but-girly vibe.
Rebel Med ID Tattoo Art Flowers Leather Medical Band, $47.95

A fun shape shows off the medical alert symbol in an appealing fashion.
Puff Heart medical ID pendant, $34.95

A sleek and simple leather band is great for men.
Brown Leather Medical Bracelet, $29.95

Pearl and pink beads give this ID a decidedly girly feel.
Sweet Pea Medical ID, $59.95

Distressed leather and hammered metal make for a rugged medical ID bracelet for guys or girls.
Michelle Verbeeck Medic Alert Leather Cuff Bracelet, Diabetes, $48



Take the Type 2
Diabetes Risk Test