Medical IDs for Type 1 Diabetes
The confidence to live with type 1 diabetes
When someone has been diagnosed with diabetes, they experience difficulties in regulating blood glucose (also called blood sugar). This can be due to one of two types of diabetes. The most common understanding of diabetes is based on type 2 diabetes, which affects a large percentage of those diagnosed. The other distinct type of diabetes is called type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes is less common.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, which can sometimes be controlled with diet and exercise alone, type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin. Without proper treatment, serious and even life-threatening complications can happen.
A type 1 diabetes diagnosis can feel overwhelming. You can help avoid serious complications with help from your medical team and by following instructions for managing blood sugar and taking insulin correctly.
This is where medical IDs for type 1 diabetes play a key role in protecting people living with this condition.
How MedicAlert protects those living with type 1 diabetes
One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if diabetes causes a health emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with diabetes, their families and caregivers.
24/7 Emergency Response
Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.
Digital Health Profile
All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.
Emergency Contact Notification
In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.
Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.
Pair a medical ID for type 1 diabetes with the protection plan that’s right for you.
What exactly is type 1 diabetes?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Type 1 diabetes affects 5-10% of people diagnosed with diabetes. In this type of diabetes, there are problems with the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas and regulates the body’s ability to lower blood sugar levels. People who have type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin or may not produce any insulin at all.
Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of 4-6 and in early puberty between the ages of 10-14. In some cases, it is also diagnosed in adults.
What causes type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes happens when the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. With these cells damaged, the pancreas can’t produce insulin. And without insulin, glucose stays in the bloodstream instead of being pulled into cells in the body for energy.
The reason this happens is not fully understood. Researchers have identified the following factors:
- Exposure to certain viruses
More studies are needed to further understand the exact causes of type 1 diabetes and to be able to hopefully prevent it from developing in the future.
What to engrave on MedicAlert medical IDs for type 1 diabetes:
MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our type 1 diabetes bracelets and other medical ID products. The engraving on medical IDs for type 1 diabetes should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in case of an accident or a medical emergency, for example:
- Diabetes – can abbreviate as T1D
- Medications such as insulin
- Implanted devices such as an insulin pump or glucose monitor
Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for type 1 diabetes.
What are the symptoms and complications of type 1 diabetes?
It’s important to know the warning signs of type 1 diabetes and the complications it can cause. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly. They may include:
- Increased urination (peeing)
- Intense thirst
- Being very hungry even after eating
- Weight loss despite increased food intake
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Wounds and/or bruises that heal slowly
Controlling blood sugar with insulin and by eating a balanced diet is important to avoid the complications of type 1 diabetes:
- Kidney disease
- Eye problems
- Skin and foot problems
- Heart and blood vessel conditions
- Tooth and gum problems
- Nerve damage
These complications develop after blood sugar has been too high over a long period of time. There are also two serious complications that can happen at any time with type 1 diabetes:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)– very high levels of blood sugar cause the body to release ketones, which is dangerous. DKA is a medical emergency. It can lead to coma, brain swelling, and death.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)– very low levels of blood sugar can happen due to imbalances in insulin levels and food intake. This is also a medical emergency. It can cause confusion and drowsiness and lead to coma, seizures, brain damage, and death.
Anyone with type 1 diabetes is at risk of DKA and hypoglycemia. Wearing a MedicAlert ID for type 1 diabetes can ensure that you’re covered in case of a diabetic emergency. When first responders are able to easily locate important medical details on a medical ID, they can provide fast, accurate care and save your life.
How do you diagnose type 1 diabetes?
If you suspect you or your child has type 1 diabetes, it’s important to see your doctor right away. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a doctor can diagnose type 1 diabetes with some specific tests:
- Blood glucose test- performed either randomly or after fasting (not eating or drinking for several hours), this test measures blood sugar levels to see if they are abnormally high
- Glycosylated hemoglobin test (A1C)- this blood test is able to measure average blood sugar levels over three months to see if they are chronically too high
- Autoantibody test- because the immune system releases certain autoantibodies that attack the pancreas in type 1 diabetes, this blood test can check to see if these autoantibodies are present
The American Diabetes Association supports all those living with diabetes. Through advocacy, support and education – they’re dedicated to finding a cure.
How do you treat, manage, and live with type 1 diabetes?
The most important treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin since your body is not able to make it. There is more than one type of insulin, and they work in different ways. Your doctor can prescribe the correct type(s) and dosing schedule. It’s important to follow this carefully. Insulin can be taken different ways:
- With a needle and syringe
- With an insulin pen
- By using an insulin pump (this is worn at all times and connected just under the skin)
- By inhalation (only for adults with type 1 diabetes)
- With a jet injector (this creates a high-pressure spray into the skin, instead of direct injection)
- With artificial pancreas technology, which uses a combination of a continuous glucose meter (CGM), computer algorithms, and an insulin pump to balance blood sugar levels 24/7
Your body’s insulin needs change frequently based on several factors:
- Your age
- Your weight
- How physically active you are
- What kind of food you eat
- What your blood sugar level is at any given time
Because of this, you should always see your doctor regularly to make sure you are treating and controlling your type 1 diabetes correctly. People newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can experience what is known as the “honeymoon phase,” where treatment works very well at first. As the immune system continues to damage pancreatic cells, however, changes to insulin dosing are needed.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is also supporting research in a procedure called pancreatic islet transplantation. Pancreatic islet cells are the type of cells that are damaged in type 1 diabetes. In this experimental treatment, healthy donor islet cells are used to help people with type 1 diabetes begin to produce insulin on their own.
As part of your treatment plan for type 1 diabetes, you can also use a MedicAlert ID and Protection Plan to document how you take insulin and at what doses. You can also indicate if you have a CGM or insulin pump, so first responders know to look for these devices and check for any malfunction that could be causing your symptoms.
How a medical ID for type 1 diabetes combined with MedicAlert Membership provides peace of mind
If you experience a diabetic emergency, you could be unable to convey important details about your type 1 diabetes, medical history, and medications to first responders. A high-quality MedicAlert ID can be your voice in an emergency, even saving your life.
MedicAlert has been trusted by millions of people for over 65 years to help protect them in case of a medical emergency. By adding a Protection Plan to a globally recognized MedicAlert ID, you can have access to services such as:
- A robust digital health profile that includes your medical history, medications, allergies, vaccinations, and more
- Access to a 24/7 Emergency Response Team that can convey important medical information
- Patient instructions, including the use of rescue medications like glucose, or your dosing instructions for insulin
- Emergency contact notification so your loved ones can be by your side quickly in a medical emergency
- Document storage for medical device info (such as an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor) and more
- Sharing of your advance directives, such as DNR status