How Will They Know?

Let’s start this month with a guest blog by American Medical Alert IDs. Why? Although I am not endorsing this particular brand, because I clearly remember being give Sulphur drugs in the Emergency Room when I was by myself and unable to let the medical staff there know I have Chronic Kidney Disease. Why? Because I remember that my husband fell when I was out of town. His grown children took him to the emergency room but didn’t know about his latex allergy and he was in no condition to explain.


Everything You Need To Know About Medical Alert IDs for Chronic Kidney Disease

Are you debating on getting a medical alert ID for chronic kidney disease? It’s time to take the confusion out of choosing and engraving a medical ID. This post will show you everything you need to know so you can enjoy the benefits of wearing one.

Why Kidney Patients Should Wear a Medical Alert ID

A medical ID serves as an effective tool to alert emergency staff of a patient’s special care needs, even when a person can’t speak for themselves. When every second counts, wearing a medical ID can help protect the kidney and safeguard its remaining function.

In emergencies, anyone diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or kidney failure may require special medical attention and monitoring. It is important that patients are able to communicate and identify their medical condition at all times. This includes individuals who are:

  • Undergoing in-center hemodialysis
  • Undergoing home hemodialysis
  • On Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)
  • On Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD)
  • Transplant recipients
  • Diagnosed with diabetes

Delays in getting the proper treatment needed for chronic kidney disease may lead to the following complications:

  • Fatal levels of potassium or hyperkalemia. This condition can lead to dangerous, and possibly deadly, changes in the heart rhythm.
  • Increased risk of peritonitis or inflammation of the membranes of the abdominal wall and organs. Peritonitis is a life-threatening emergency that needs prompt medical treatment.
  • Anemia or decreased supply in red blood cells. Anemia can make a patient tired, weak, and short of breath.
  • Heart disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke
  • High blood pressure which can cause further damage to the kidneys and negatively impact blood vessels, heart, and other organs in the body.
  • Fluid buildup in the body that can cause problems with the heart and lungs.

According to Medscape, the most common cause of sudden death in patients with ESRD is hyperkalemia, which often follows missed dialysis or dietary indiscretion. The most common cause of death overall in the dialysis population is cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular mortality is 10-20 times higher in dialysis patients than in the general population.

Kidney Patients Who Wear a Medical ID Have 62% Lower Risk of Renal Failure

In a study of 350 patients, primarily in CKD stages 2 through 5, those who wore a medical ID bracelet or necklace had a 62% lower risk of developing kidney failure, based on eGFR. Wearing a medical-alert bracelet or necklace was associated with a lower risk of developing kidney failure compared with usual care.

Wearing a medical ID can serve as a reminder to look after your health and make the right choices such as taking medication on time and sticking to proper diet.

6 Things to Engrave on Kidney Disease Medical ID

A custom engraved medical alert jewelry can hold precise information that is specific to the wearer’s health condition. Here are some of the most important items to put on a chronic kidney disease or kidney failure medical ID:

  • Name
  • Medical information – including if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Stage of CKD or kidney function
  • Transplant information
  • Current list of medicines
  • Contact person

Some patients have a long list of medications that may not fit on the engraved part of an ID. An emergency wallet card is recommended to use for listing down your medicines and other information or medical history.


Click here to enlarge chronic kidney disease infographic

Do you wear or carry a form of medical identification with you? Please share your experience or tips with us by posting a comment.

Ready for a new topic? All right then. Ever have a problem drinking your coffee? I know I have… until I followed these tips from the Cleveland Clinic at

Here’s hoping that next cup of coffee treats you well.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!


Lest We Forget

Today is Memorial Day.  Until I became engaged to a retired army colonel, I never truly understood what that meant.  He’s told me.  Even with keeping the worst of it to himself, from Bear’s memories I understand… and the sacrifices of these men and women were horrific.  It is not  ‘happy’ Memorial Day; it is a somber day to remember what our countrymen and countrywomen have given for us.

A friend from my theater life, James David Porter( Arizona Curriculum Theater),  posted this on Facebook today:

“Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the 1860s, to honor the 625,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War. The first Decoration Day event was organized by freed African-American slaves in 1865 in Charleston, S.C., where a parade of 10,000, led by 3,000 black schoolchildren, took place to honor the dead around a racetrack that had been used as a burial ground.”

Once you’re over being surprised that Memorial (instituted as Decoration) Day  was orginally organized by freed slaves, pay attention to the part that  mentions it was “to honor the dead.”  Organ donations are not the only way our dead offer us life. Oh, and thank  you to Larry Jacobson, a former colleague a million years ago, for locating the picture above.

I’ve  got an exercise video for you to demonstrate that exercise CAN be fun.  We went to Nathaniel Smalley’s (he and his wife, Elizabeth had two swing dance clubs here until recently)  Feather Focus’s photography exhibit Friday night where Bill Morse was dj for some East Coast Swing Dancing.  I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to do some exercise I actually liked!  My partner is MacGyver Mann who teaches at Gmann’s in Mesa (Arizona) on Thursday nights.  I never met him before so you can appreciate what a good lead he is. It’s night, it’s outdoors and it’s dark.   But it is fun and got my heart rate up!  Can you catch the smile on my face? Thank you, Bear, for getting any video at all for us with your wonderful, magical phone.

Ready for some kidney news? First, do you remember my disappointment with the medical jewelry company that sent the alert bracelet with a note saying that it should not be immersed in water, as in bathing or swimming?  I don’t know about you, but I have this habit of showering every day and that includes immersing myself in water.  I also have arthritis which means taking jewelry off and then putting it back on is a nightmare – even with the arthritis helper made specifically for this purpose.  My mother loved that little device; I’m just not co-ordinated enough with my left hand to use it on a bracelet worn on my right hand since I’m right handed. We can now bypass the whole problem.  Read on:

Tattoos Replace Bracelets for Medical Alerts

By Chris  Kaiser, Cardiology Editor, MedPage Today

Published: May 25, 2012


PHILADELPHIA   —  As more people with diabetes replace their medical alert bracelets with tattooed warnings, there might be a need for a standard design and body location, a researcher here said.

“The tattoo has to be easily recognizable to first responders,” Saleh Aldasouqi, MD, from the Sparrow Diabetes Center of Michigan State University in East Lansing, said during a press conference.

“It may be that we need guidelines for medical alert tattoos for both patients and tattoo artists,” Aldasouqi said. “Should tattoos be prescriptive? I don’t know. We’re at the beginning of this dialogue and I think it’s an important one.”

Medical alert tattoos for diabetes are a relatively new phenomenon and Aldasouqi admitted he has no hard data on the number of people who choose ink over metal to alert first responders in case of an emergency.

He initially became aware of medical tattoos about 3 years ago when a patient showed up with one. His search of the literature, however, produced only two case reports. But a search on the Internet revealed ample evidence that the practice is alive and well.

“You can find groups of people discussing their medical tattoos,” he said.

Rick Lopez, who works at Hard Ink Tattoo in Philadelphia, told MedPage Today that he recently inked a diabetes alert on a young man.

“He brought the bracelet into the shop and I just copied it onto his wrist,” Lopez said.

He said he has tattooed a lot of “cancer ribbons” on customers, generally family members of those with cancer who want to show support, but also on cancer survivors as well. And he has inked the autism puzzle ribbon. But only one medical alert.

Aldasouqi and colleagues reported a case presentation here of a 32-year-old women with type 1 diabetes who decided to shed the alert jewelry for a permanent ink reminder on her wrist.

She said she was frustrated with the numerous broken necklaces and bracelets throughout her life, and the ensuing costs of them.

Last year in the American Family Physician journal, Aldasouqi published another case report of a man who tattooed his diabetic condition onto his wrist.

As the practice of medical tattoos grows, he wants to ensure it’s headed in the right direction. Paramedics have to be educated about these tattoos so they recognize them during an emergency. There perhaps should be some standardization in design and location, such as the wrist, so it’s easier to identify the tattoo as an alert, he said.

He cited a case where a man had the letters “DNR” inked on his chest. During an emergency, first responders thought the tattoo might be a directive for “do not resuscitate.” As it turned out, the man had lost a bet in his youth, which resulted in those letters emblazoned on his chest.

Aldasouqi has recently teamed up with a colleague from the University of Helsinki to produce peer-reviewed studies on the phenomenon and to begin a registry of patients with medical tattoos.

You can read the article in its orginal form at:

One of my step-daughers, Kelly Garwood, is gloriously tatooed (or is called inked?).  Here’s hoping she never needs to add a medical tatoo to the collection of art on her body.

Before I sign off, a little reminder that while I’m donating books as fast as I can at urgicare centers, and PCPs’, nephrologists’ and urologists’ offices, there are still plenty left for you to order a personalized one for the discount price of $8.00.  I finally figured out the price had to be less than that of the digital copy of the book or where’s the discount?

Also, is no longer a viable address, so if you’d rather order digital or print (not discounted or personalized), go through Amazon or B & N.

The nephrologist I mentioned who wanted to sell our books together is becoming disillusioned since neither online selling site is willing to do this.  I wonder if we should offer the two book set via our blogs.  What’s your opinion here?

Until next week,

Keep living your life!