How do you identify yourself as having Type 1 Diabetes?

Over the last 12 to 18 months I have become much more overt in showing that I have type 1 diabetes. I have never been ashamed or embarrassed but I had no outward identification that I was. I have always had a card in my wallet and a medi-tag necklace but unless I showed you or you looked you would not have known. About 18 months ago the latest copy of balance came through and I looked through the shop catalogue and saw these:

In previous years I have worn a Movember wristband so I thought why not wear one to show that I have type 1 diabetes? It didn’t take me long before I had order several of each and after a few days they arrived through the post. Initially I was a bit nervous about wearing them; would people ask me about them? about being a type 1 diabetic? or any of the silly questions that come from not knowing anything about the condition? It turns out that only one person asked me about them and that was how long had I been wearing them! I needn’t have worried at all. I wear them in a specific way on my right wrist with the words readable to someone who shakes my right hand. I like to think it is a subtle indication that if I start pulling out my blood meter or eating randomly in meetings or when out and about the person will know that it is somehow related to my diabetes.

The medical ID wristband is available in several colours and wear the purple one above when in the UK along with the dark blue supporter wristband. When I went to the US last year I didn’t wear the supporter wristband and I changed the medical ID wristband to a red one, which I thought was far more overt. The people I was visiting already knew that I had diabetes as I had to let them know I had a pump so again, no questions were asked.

With the introduction of iOS8 by apple they are making a push in the Health market with the introduction of their Health App, but I think more importantly they have introduced a Medical ID button to the Emergency dealing keypad available on a locked phone. Information is populated from within the Health App and available to anyone. Obviously I have filled mine with the relevant information relating to having diabetes and coeliac diseases. It is not the most straight forward button to find on the iPhone having to go through several screens to get there but as far as I can see it can only help me should something happen.

Medical ID on Apple iOS8.
Medical ID on Apple iOS8.

Recently though I have bought more gadgets and technology to help having seen an advert for Tap2Tag wristbands that use NFC technology. Having done a very quick internet search I decided to buy a few items and this is what arrived through the post yesterday:

By scanning the items with an NFC capable phone you will be taken to a website where you can enter the unique ID code on each item (I have blanked out my code in the red box on the medical ID card). This will then show you a general message available to anyone who enters your code. The person scanning can then log in through several social media applications (Facebook, Google etc) and see a more detailed medical profile for you along with more information. This login is also recorded on your account so that you can see who looked at your information should you wish to check afterwards. If you don’t have and NFC capable phone then you can go to the website detailed on both items and enter the code manually taking into the same process as above. I hope I never find myself in a situation where this is necessary but I provides me with a level of confidence that people will be able to take appropriate action should I be in a state where I am unable to communicate with them. The medical ID card is now in my wallet and I will wear the wristband on my left wrist, again with the words readable for someone stood in front of me.

My last form of ID is the medi-tag necklace which has a telephone number with UK dealing code, my unique ID number and the statement that I am an insulin dependant diabetic on it. The telephone number is monitored 24/7 and run in conjunction with an NHS trust so my information is safe and secure and that the person on the phone will know what to do in the case of an emergency. It requires a yearly subscription, but for me this brings peace of mind that the is a real person on the end of a phone who could help and give direction should some one need to call them.

As you can see, I have quite a few ways of identifying myself as having Type 1 Diabetes and I have become much more confident and overt in my sharing that I have Type 1 Diabetes. It may seem like overkill but one day it could be one of these items that stops me getting into a life threatening situation. I have shown you how I identify myself, how do you identify yourself?


PS. I am not in any way being paid or benefitting at all from any of the companies that I have mentioned above by writing this post. I am also not providing them any endorsement as a result of this post.

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