There is nothing more important than your health. Every day, people spend huge amounts of money on preventive medicine, diet supplements, and exercise so that they may live longer and have a better life. Yet, no matter how much we try to take care of our health, the stress of modern life has a negative impact on our well-being. By the time you reach middle age, it’s a small wonder to not have at least a mild form of some chronic condition or allergy. This is a fact of life we all have to learn to deal with.
If you’re already in that situation, there are things you can do to get some additional protection. One of them is to wear a medical ID bracelet that will contain information on your condition or illness. This will inform EMTs of specific health factors that are crucial in emergencies. This kind of preventive care is important in situations where reaction speed is vital, and can save your life.
Recognizing the importance of this topic, we decided to broaden our inventory. Today we’re introducing a new subcategory to our Bracelets: Medical ID bracelets. We’re still following our founding principles of affordability and style. However, this time we’re also answering a real need. Our title may say “medical ID bracelets for men,” but many items in our catalog are unisex. They will fit women, and even children. We created our selection to offer affordable and quality medical ID bracelets for everyone, regardless of gender or age.
In this article, we’ll go through the most important questions you may have about medical ID bracelets for men. We’ll also try to present you with some important information about them. After reading this, you’ll be able to decide on what’s best for you.
What is a medical ID bracelet?
Any bracelet that contains a medical symbol is technically a medical ID bracelet. You can usually find it on a plaque on the bracelet, or on a separate charm or tag. We could say that the only thing that distinguishes medical ID bracelets from regular fashion bracelets is the medical symbol on them, and the information they carry.
They have many other names, like medical alert bracelets, medic bracelets, or simply medical bracelets. The names may differ, but they all have the same important function. They inform medics, EMTs, and first responders of any chronic conditions or illness you may have.
If your bracelets carry only emergency contact information, they are known as ICE bracelets. In Case of Emergency bracelets are not true replacements for medical ID bracelets. Your emergency contacts can provide medical information, but only if someone manages to contact them. There is no replacement for having this information on your person at all times.
Aside from these differences, medical ID bracelets are the same as ordinary fashion bracelets. This means that — apart from their primary function — they are nice accessories that you can use to spruce up your outfit. We have several items in or catalog that we’re certain you’ll like.
We’ve already mentioned that the medical symbol is the main thing that distinguishes medical ID bracelets. Now we’ll examine the meaning of that symbol, how it came to be and where it’s used.
Medical symbols and their meaning
Almost all medical ID bracelets display a symbol called the Star of Life. This is a modern symbol, and it’s an adaptation from the American Medical Association (AMA). Today it’s used as the official symbol of many Emergency Medical Services (EMS) across the world. That’s why it’s the best way to indicate the medical nature of your bracelet.
There are quite a few variants, but here we’ll show two basic forms:
Originally, the star of life was blue with a white frame and six branches. In time, more colors appeared as their use increased, so today you can see them in red, white, green, silver, etc. Many modern iterations may contain different symbols inside them, but as a rule, they all have six branches. You can find different version among our medical ID bracelets.
Each branch of the “Star of Life” represents one of six EMS functions. The functions include:
- On-Scene Care,
- Care in Transit,
- Transfer to Definitive Care.
As we mentioned, this symbol gained international popularity and was accepted by many medical organizations and institutions. During that process it evolved, and other symbols were added to it, more or less related to medicine. In time, two became regular additions: the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus. We’ll go into detail on their differences and similarities in the next section.
Rod of Asclepius vs Caduceus
These two symbols have a long and interesting history, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. However, since a long time has passed, the different origins of the Rod of Asclepius and caduceus are now pretty obscure. Because they are so similar, consisting of the same elements (staffs and snakes), many people confuse them.
We’ll take a brief look into these symbols, their variants and meaning. After that, you’ll be able to tell them apart with ease.
Rod of Asclepius
This is the Rod of Asclepius, the original symbol of medicine. It it depicted as a simple rod, or even tree branch, with a serpent coiling around it.
It belonged to Asclepius or Aesculapius, who was the Greek god of healers and medicine. He was the son of Apollo, and was so skilled in the craft of healing that he could restore the dead to life.
In ancient times, serpents were linked to renewal, because of their shedding skins. They were also venerated as magical creatures, their venom giving them a special place among other animals. Asclepius was linked to snakes from the very beginning of his veneration, and snakes were frequent motifs in ancient Greek temples and hospitals.
After Asclepius was destroyed by Zeus, he ascended to the stars. He is represented in the constellation of Ophiuchus — “the serpent bearer.” Fun fact! Some consider the Ophiuchus to be the unofficial 13th zodiac constellation for people born between November 30th and December 18th.
The caduceus resembles the first symbol we’ve dealt with. However, if you look closely, you’ll notice the differences. For starters, the caduceus is a staff with wings on top, and there are two serpents coiling around it. This symbol also has a very different heritage.
(Here’s a simple rule to remember, the caduceus always has two serpents, and the Rod of Asclepius only one!)
This symbol belonged to Hermes, the Ancient Greek messenger God. He was in charge of trade, negotiation, eloquence, wisdom, alchemy, liars and thieves. Later on, the symbol came to signify commerce, and also indicated craft and professionalism.
So, if the caduceus isn’t really related to medicine, how come we see it on medical ID bracelets? Well, it seems that in 1902 the US Army Medical Corp adopted the caduceus as their symbol. We assume they were drawn to the eye-catching wings and two serpents, because of the “military” feel. Regardless, the use spread over time so today it’s common to see in the US, and less frequently in the rest of the world.
We ought to stress that the official symbol of medicine is the Rod of Asclepius, and that it’s use on medical ID bracelets is certainly more appropriate. It’s also much more frequent than the caduceus. That’s why we decided that all our medical ID bracelets should use this symbol.
Now that we’ve explained everything about symbols and resolved the dilemma of their meaning and history, we’d like to tell you some more important things about medical ID bracelets.
Who should wear a medical alert bracelet?
Medical experts agree that anyone who has a chronic medical condition should wear a medical alert bracelet.
There are many reasons you might want to wear a medical alert bracelet. For example, it’s useful to anyone who requires special treatment, suffers from seizures, has severe allergies to food, drugs or insect bites. Also, if you’ve had surgery, organ transplant, pacemaker, or any other implant, or if you use blood thinners, or other drugs that may impede with medical procedures, etc.
This is just a small cross-section of potential applications. Here is a more detailed list of conditions or medications where a medical alert bracelet is recommended:
- Allergies: antibiotics, contrast dye, morphine, insect stings, medications, latex, foods, peanuts, shellfish
- Anemia: sickle cell, ITP
- Autoimmune Diseases: Addison’s, Celiac, Crohn’s, Lupus, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, narcolepsy
- Breathing disorders: Asthma, COPD, Emphysema
- Blood thinners: Coumadin, Warfarin, Xarelto, Eliquis, Plavix
- Blood disorders: leukemia, hemolytic anemia
- Clotting Disorders: Von Willebrand’s, Factor 5 Leiden, hemophilia
- Diabetes type 1 and type 2
- Bariatric Surgery: gastric bypass, lap band, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, intragastric balloon
- Heart Problems: pacemaker, stent, AFIB, angina, mitral valve prolapse, arrhythmia, stroke risk, artificial valves, HBP, hypertension, ventricular tachycardia
- Seizure Disorders: Epilepsy
- Kidney Diseases: kidney failure, dialysis
- Rare diseases
- Mental Disabilities: aphasia, Down’s Syndrome, schizophrenia, speech disorder, PTSD
- No MRI: implanted magnetic metal, plates, meshes, pumps, pacemakers, stimulators
- Prescription and multiple medicines: chemo, anti-rejection
- Transplants: kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, lung and intestine
What to engrave on a medical alert bracelet?
The best advice we can give is to consult with your doctor. They can advise you on the information your medical ID bracelets ought to list. In any case, the text needs to be clear, readable and unambiguous.
Most often, the name of your condition is enough. For example, in case of a severe allergies, you can engrave something like “ALLERGY.” If you’re taking medication that may conflict with emergency treatment like blood thinners, you can engrave “BLOOD THINNER.” You can also engrave the name of a specific drug, like “COUMADIN,” or “WARFARIN.”
Some people are allergic to mainstream drugs, like penicillin. This is also very important to know. You can also note conditions which may lead to emergencies, like asthma, or epilepsy. In those cases, you can engrave a simple description, like “ASTHMA,” or “EPILEPSY.” Or, you can also be more precise, and list something like “HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.”
People with organ transplants often have special needs. In those cases, you can use something like “HEART TRANSPLANT.” Or, if you’ve had heart surgery and use a pacemaker, go for “PACEMAKER.”
The list goes on, but the same principles apply regardless of the illness. You should always use the most descriptive, concise explanation. The shorter the word, the larger and clearer it can be.
Often there isn’t enough space on the bracelet, so people use abbreviations. However, you should be careful, and use only those abbreviations that are clear and widely accepted. In the next section we’ll go over the best ways to use these abbreviations.
Abbreviations for medical alert bracelets
There are many commonly used abbreviations in medicine, but some of them require additional context because they can signify different things.
Many commonly used drugs have abbreviations, as do many common medical conditions and medical phrases.
If space is an issue, you can shorten a long medical treatment like “Epinephrine pen” to a simple and short “EPIPEN.” You can signify any medication you’re taking by engraving “MEDS,” etc.
This will be clear to all medical professionals, and will allow you to engrave important information in larger letters and better utilize the space.
However, while many conditions and treatments can be shortened, some require additional information, which can lead to confusion. For example, both “treatment” and “transplant” can be abbreviated as “TX”, which is why you should be careful and avoid ambiguity.
It isn’t always beneficial to shorten everything, especially when it impedes legibility. Always make sure that the important information is clear! We would advise you to use abbreviations only if it’s absolutely necessary.
Below you can find a table of frequently used abbreviations:
|Aortic Valve Replacement||AVR|
|Chronic Kidney Disease||CKD|
|Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease||COPD|
|Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia||CAH|
|Congestive Heart Failure||CHF|
|Coronary Artery Disease||CAD|
|Coronary Heart Disease||CHD|
|Deep Vein Thrombosis||DVT|
|Diagnosis or Disease||DX/DIAG|
|Do Not Resuscitate||DNR|
|Epinephrine Pen (auto-injector)||EPIPEN|
|In Case of Emergency||ICE|
|Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus||IDDM|
|Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura||ITP|
|Mitral Valve Prolapsed||MVP|
|No Known Allergies||NKA|
|No Known Drug Allergies||NKDA|
|Transplant or Treatment||TX (requires context)|
|Von Willebrand’s Disease||VWD|
Which wrist to wear a medical bracelet on?
You’re free to choose — you can wear your medical ID bracelet on whichever wrist you’re most comfortable with. EMT’s will always check both your wrists, so that’s won’t be a problem.
However, there are situations where you should wear a bracelet on a particular wrist. This is in case you want to list important information related to a specific arm. For example, imagine that there’s a medical reason why you can’t use needles. Or, imagine you can’t measure blood pressure on your left arm. In those instances, you should wear a medical ID bracelet on your left arm with an inscription “No BP or needles on this arm.” To be even more certain, you could even say “No BP or needles on left arm.”
There are other factors that may influence your wrist choice. You should consider which arm you use most in your daily life, and if a bracelet might be a hindrance. Also, if you wear other jewelry or a watch, it would be a good idea to wear your medical ID bracelet separately, so it doesn’t rub against watch bands or other bracelets.
This is important because you want the inscription on your medical ID bracelet to be legible. That’s why you can’t allow everyday wear and tear to damage the engraving, defeating the purpose of your medical tag.
Are medical bracelets useful in emergencies?
Absolutely! Medical ID bracelets can be crucial in emergencies where a person can become unconscious. Medics are trained to look for ID tags and other critical information on wrists. This is by far the fastest and most efficient method of providing critical information to medical professionals.
EMTs have to spend vital seconds, perhaps even minutes, trying to assess your symptoms and determine the best course of action. Those seconds are precious and can mean the difference between life and death. Remember, your medical bracelet speaks for you when you’re not able to.
Is a medical ID bracelet the best choice for me?
We are convinced that it is. When you think of medical notifications, other options can come up. Some people have state-issued organ donor cards in their wallets. Sometimes folks wear necklaces with dog tags with special inscriptions. There are also medical tattoos. All of these can contain medically relevant information. What makes medical ID bracelets special?
In a medical crisis, wallets can get lost, tiny necklace snaps or knots can break. Then, all the useful information they hold will also disappear. Plus, we usually tuck away wallets in jacket pockets, and necklaces are often under several layers of clothes, which can make finding them more difficult.
As far as medical tattoos go, they have some serious drawbacks, so few people opt for that solution. First of all, tattooing is a painful process with some health risks. Second, in order to be useful, a tattoo needs to be clear, accessible, and visible. As we’ve seen, one of the most accessible places is your wrist. And if you should wear something on your wrist, then why not a nice bracelet you can replace or change on a whim?
In critical situations EMTs might not have the time to rummage around and find your wallet or necklace. However, if you have a medical ID bracelet, it will always be in sight as soon as a medic takes your pulse. That way, medics can find out crucial information about you quickly, and, if needed, adapt the first aid accordingly.
Based on everything we’ve said so far, we can say that engravable medical ID bracelets are one of the safest and most reliable ways to carry important information on life-threatening emergencies.
Our Stylish Medical Alert Bracelets
Our goal here is to offer the most affordable and stylish medical ID bracelets in the market. The more people are able to afford medical ID bracelets, the better they can serve their purpose. You’ll notice that we don’t offer fancy engravings or other designer features. This helps keep our costs down and allows us to give you outstanding value for money. (You can see our entire catalog of Medical ID bracelets here.)
We’ve found that engraving, in general, adds to the cost of each bracelet. In most cases, you can engrave a bracelet at your local engraver’s or even through a friend, at a much lower cost. There is also a low-cost option if you can’t engrave your bracelet immediately. You can take a piece of paper (determine the size based on the metal plaque) and print or write what you want. Then use some transparent tape and fix it to the metal plaque on your new stylish medical ID bracelet. It will work for some time, until you can do a proper engraving.
However, we are able to offer the most sought-after engravings on our site. This way you can get a complete item you can wear immediately, at a much lower price. You can find engravings for many conditions and diseases. If you suffer from diabetes, we offer a stainless steel diabetic bracelet, as well as a cabochon diabetic bracelet. Or, if you’d like to be more precise, check out the classic type 1 or type 2 diabetes bracelet. There are also options for asthma, hypoglycemia, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and much more. You’ll get the best of all worlds — beautiful design, affordable pricing, and great utility.
We would also encourage you to check out other relevant information. It’s very important that a bracelet fits your wrist properly. For that, you can check out our helpful guide for measuring wrist sizes. This way you can be sure that a new stylish medical alert bracelet will look good on you and will fit you like a glove.
In the end, we’d like to say that we wish everybody good health and hope that you’ll never need medical ID bracelets. However, if this is something you do have to wear, then we hope that we at least managed to help you find answers to important questions and make the right decision.
Your Band and Bracelets team.