When you’re living with heart disease, it’s important to prepare for potential emergencies — not just serious incidents like heart attack and stroke, but also issues like fainting or arrhythmias. Cardiac complications can come at any time and occur anywhere. Depending on where you are when an emergency occurs, the people around you might not always recognize what’s happening or know what steps to take.
A heart disease bracelet, a form of medical identification, lets people around you know the appropriate course of action in case of an emergency.
How can a medical ID help people with heart conditions? What types are available? Is wearing one right for you? Read on for three important reasons why you or your loved one might consider wearing a medical ID bracelet.
A medical ID bracelet, also known as a medical alert bracelet, is used to communicate that you have a heart condition. It also provides directions on what to do in case of a life-threatening emergency.
If you or a loved one is living with any type of heart disease, you know how important it is to make others aware of your condition and what could go wrong. Your loved ones need to know about the symptoms of heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest. A medical ID bracelet is an important safety measure because it not only lets others know you have heart disease but also informs them of other vital information, such as any medications you’re taking to manage the symptoms of your condition.
Many symptoms of a cardiac event may require emergency medical attention — especially for people diagnosed with heart disease. You or someone around you should immediately call 911 if you are experiencing:
In these scenarios, you or a loved one with heart disease needs to seek emergency care.
Without medical identification that identifies you as a person with heart disease, other people may not take immediate action regarding these symptoms. Wearing a medical bracelet can help those around you know how to respond to a heart disease complication.
A bracelet or other form of medical ID can immediately inform first responders or emergency department staff about your condition. Paramedics usually check for medical information on a person’s body, in a wallet or purse, and on their phones.
A survey conducted by American Medical ID found that more than 95 percent of respondents look for medical IDs during health emergencies. Medical IDs like heart disease bracelets provide vital health information to others in the event of a cardiac episode.
Generally, medical IDs are customized to reflect your unique health status. They often include information such as:
When health care providers can rapidly access this information, it allows them to give you the safest and most effective treatment possible. Knowing what medications you take can help them avoid dangerous interactions. If you have allergies to medications, this knowledge can help health care providers prevent an allergic reaction. And if you take any maintenance medications to keep your health conditions under control, you can avoid missing a dose and risking other serious health consequences on top of a cardiac event.
Obtaining a medical ID bracelet or other medical ID solution will help you feel more comfortable when you’re traveling to unfamiliar places or when you’re around others who don’t know about your condition. With a medical ID, you’ll be more likely to get the appropriate care in an emergency, and your contacts will be notified.
A medical ID bracelet is one of the easiest, most recognized, and most effective ways to communicate medical conditions in an emergency. Medical ID bracelets don’t require service or upkeep or have batteries that run out.
There are many additional options for medical IDs, including watches, necklaces, ID cards, tags, pendants, and key fobs. Most medical jewelry allows you to engrave the information of your choice, while others provide slots for paper inserts. In the United States, medical IDs usually have the Star of Life symbol, representing emergency medical services. This signifies the wearer has a medical condition that emergency services staff should note.
Depending on the style of jewelry and the seller, you can get a piece of medical ID jewelry for a few dollars for silicone bracelets or $15 or more for custom engraved metal styles. They come in many materials and colors, including stainless steel for long-term durability, functionality, and style. You can also find free medical ID cards online to print at home.
Heart disease jewelry is just one form of medical ID. There are many other options that might suit your needs.
Audio medical IDs are small audio recorders that clip onto your clothing. They allow you to save information in an audio file for emergency personnel to hear. You can record a message that includes details about first aid or any relevant medical information. In the event of a cardiac event, when you are unable to speak, first responders can easily press play to listen to your prerecorded information.
Another alternative is a USB device that holds your medical information in one place. This could include PDFs of blood test results, medical imaging, and prior medical records. You can attach this to a dog tag, keychain, or wristband for easy access. This could be helpful not only in an emergency but also for a regular doctor’s appointment.
With USB medical IDs, keep in mind that your medical information should be kept confidential and should only be stored and accessed securely. When looking to buy a USB medical ID, make sure it has an encryption feature with proper security guarantees from the manufacturer.
Some people opt for medical ID tattoos — tattoos that provide the same identifying information as traditional medical IDs. If that idea appeals to you, speak to your doctor to determine whether it’s safe for you to get a tattoo.
Some smartphones have features that let people access specific types of medical information from the lock screen. This allows medical professionals to see your health information without needing a password for your phone.
If you have an iPhone, you can set up a smart medical ID by following Apple’s instructions. If you have an Android or other non-iOS phone, you may need to download an app. Simply search for “medical ID app” on the Google Play Store or your phone manufacturer’s app store.
Near-field communication (NFC) allows smartphones and other similar devices to communicate with other technologies and transfer information — including medical information — over short distances. If you have a wristband, wallet card, or key fob that uses NFC, medical personnel can access your medical information on a secure website in case of an emergency. This information can include anything you think would be important in a health emergency, including care plans, prescriptions, and medical documents.
MyHeartDiseaseTeam is the social network for people with heart disease and their loved ones. On MyHeartDiseaseTeam, more than 55,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with heart disease.
Do you wear a medical ID bracelet or carry another form of medical alert? Has it been useful? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.
American Medical ID is proud to celebrate over 25 years of serving the chronic health community by offering personalized, custom-engraved medical ID jewelry. In an emergency, the jewelry allows medics or other medical professionals to give prompt, precise treatment. Leading physicians, pharmacists, educators, and hospitals endorse American Medical ID jewelry for people living with a chronic condition.