Diabetes tattoos gain popularity as medical alerts

Australians with diabetes are replacing medical alert bracelets and necklaces with markedly less removable tattoos.

Though the idea of medical alert tattoos has been a common discussion subject in international online diabetes forums for some years now, the practice is now starting to appear in the mainstream locally.

Channel 7’s TV news just recently interviewed a tattooist in Sydney’s Bondi Junction about its burgeoning popularity.

Tattooist Gab Szarvas said the tattoos were “super easy to read” and the report said patients were switching because of the expense and “hassle” of traditional markers which it claimed, “can cost upwards of $1000”.

Dr Dorothy Pawlak from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation said tattoos were becoming much more common for people with Type 1 diabetes but urged patients to see their doctor first.

And in these days of ever more heavily tattooed citizens, some have warned the alerts could be easily lost in a sea of “ink”. Most of those in favour suggest something simple around the wrist.

The practice has reached the point where there are even Pinterest and Facebook “research” pages devoted entirely to pictures of alerts.

But with medical science always forging ahead, many people with alert tattoos may eventually regret getting them as much as they might the indelibly printed name of a former “significant other”.

One tattooed Type 1 diabetes one patient hopeful of a future cure, said on forum he would simply get “ex” tattooed in front of the old “diabetic” marker.

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