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Diabetic Tattoo Aftercare

Is It Safe For A Diabetic To Get A Tattoo?

Is It Safe For A Diabetic To Get A Tattoo?

While I can’t comment on the effects of every health condition in connection with getting tattoos, as the mother of a Type 1 diabetic I am (sadly) intimately acquainted with this disease. And since diabetes affects all ages and all walks of life, and there are over 24 million people just in the United States suffering from one form of the illness or another, it’s understandable that a large number of diabetics will eventually find themselves contemplating a tattoo. But is that a good idea? Is it safe for a diabetic to be tattooed? Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes First, it’s good to understand the distinction between the two major forms of diabetes— Type 1, which is often referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, and Type 2, which used to be called “Adult Onset” Diabetes. The terms Type 1 and Type 2 are more accurate because sometimes adults can get Type 1, and sometimes kids can get Type 2. And while both forms of the disease have similar symptoms, they are actually very different. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, which basically means that the immune system gets confused and accidentally starts attacking good cells instead of bad ones. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the body attacks the islet cells of the pancreas, which are responsible for producing insulin. Without insulin, none of us can survive; insulin serves as a key to unlock the sugar in our body and turn it into energy. Without that key, the sugar builds up in the body and becomes toxic. Currently there is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes, no way to stop it once it has started attacking the pancreas, and no cure. Type 1 diabetics depend on an outside source of insulin to stay alive – many of them take up to eight injections of insulin a day or, as in the case of my daughter, wear a pump that deliv Continue reading >>

Tattoos And Body Piercings: A Guide For People With Diabetes

Tattoos And Body Piercings: A Guide For People With Diabetes

The best way to know if it’s safe for you to get a tattoo with diabetes is to see your doctor or healthcare provider. They can review your numbers, draw your A1C, and determine if your diabetes is controlled. If your diabetes is not well controlled, or if your blood pressure is elevated, you should take measures to get both within range prior to getting a tattoo. After you are evaluated by the healthcare provider and they confirm that your diabetes is under control,you will be given clearance to get a tattoo or a piercing. It will also be a good idea to have the doctor write a note, or even a prescription, in attention of the tattoo parlor or piercing clinic that will be performing the procedure. Normally, a tattoo or piercing establishment will take the word of the client, and the forms that you fill out there should have a question about diabetes, and whether it’s controlled. Your response should be honest on the form, and if your diabetes is not well-controlled, lying about it could be to your peril. The question is on the form for your own safety, Understand that it is imperative that your diabetes must be controlled, along with your blood pressure, prior to obtaining a piercing or tattoo with diabetes. Considerations for getting a tattoo or piercing with diabetes There are many things that your doctor or healthcare provider should consider prior to giving you the ok for the procedure, even with your blood sugar and A1C in your target ranges. If it’s a tattoo, your doctor may want to know its location on your body. Areas farther away from the heart, and areas with poor blood flow are harder to heal, and people with diabetes may have existing compromised circulation in these areas. If it’s a body piercing, where will it be placed is important to consider. Wil Continue reading >>

Getting Inked: Tattoos And Diabetes

Getting Inked: Tattoos And Diabetes

Though you need to take extra precautions, tattoos are generally safe for people with well-controlled diabetes, and they can even be designed as medical alert identification. Should you get one? Permanent body art has become more and more popular with each generation since World War II, with 38 percent of Millennials (ages 18 to 34 in 2015) and 32 percent of Gen X-ers (ages 35-50) sporting tattoos, according to Pew Research Center. That’s more than twice the number of tattooed Baby Boomers (ages 51 to 69) and five or six times the number of those 67 and over. Ink Identity Tattoos may be a way of identifying with a group, or even a generation, but they are also a way of expressing uniqueness. Most college students surveyed about the process and significance of their tattoos said they considered the pros and cons for months before committing to permanent ink. Most had their tattoos applied at professional studios and were happy with the results. The majority chose an area of their body for tattooing that could be easily covered. Medical Tattoos There are a several reasons why someone might get a tattoo for medical purposes or as result of a medical procedure. A tattoo can cover a disfiguring scar, add a nipple to a reconstructed breast or redirect light away from a damaged eye. Researchers are currently working on “smart” tattoos that use nanoparticle ink or tiny LEDs implanted in the skin to keep track of glucose levels. Meanwhile, inked wrists and forearms have begun to replace medical alert bracelets for some people who require special attention in an emergency, such as anyone who uses insulin or is allergic to specific types of medication. If you dislike, or often forget to wear, medical alert jewelry, you may be more likely to consider a diabetes alert tattoo. Continue reading >>

More Thoughts On Tattoos And Diabetes

More Thoughts On Tattoos And Diabetes

I’ve written a couple times before about my own health issues. I’m a Type 2 diabetic, diagnosed ten years ago but probably had it a year or so before that. I’ve gotten all three of my tattoos since being diagnosed, and had no particular problems. The last tattoo was slow to heal, but I believe that was more due to a reaction to the red ink. Diabetics don’t heal as quickly as other people, and the slow healing can be even slower if the person’s blood sugar isn’t under good control. It’s not a complete barrier to getting inked, but it’s something to take into consideration. Slower healing means more chance of infection, scarring, and generalized messing-things-up. This week I started on insulin at bedtime because my blood sugar was NOT under good control. Something went haywire somewhere over the last six months and I was getting higher and higher readings and having little success getting back to business-as-usual with my former combination of diet, exercise, and oral medication. Many Type 2’s think of going on insulin as somehow having failed. I don’t see it that way. It’s a lot easier to adjust the dosage of insulin than it is to try to monkey around with oral meds. I mean, how many times can you break a pill before you’ve got nothing but dust? As I watched my readings get higher and higher I knew that it would be a very bad idea for me to get any more tattoos. High readings mean slow healing, and since I’m leaning very strongly toward having a more-visible tattoo next time (if there is a next time) I definitely do not want to have something that will swell, itch, weep, crust, and look like space-alien skin for months. So I have even more incentive to get the insulin dose right and keep things in equilibrium. Doing a Google search on “tattoo Continue reading >>

The Safe Way To Get Ink When You Have Diabetes

The Safe Way To Get Ink When You Have Diabetes

There was a time when tattoos were something only sailors, bikers, and other hard-livin’ rebels inked into their skin. Now 1 in 5 people have at least one—tattoos aren’t taboo anymore. But can someone with diabetes get one? Of course! And if you’re thinking about getting a medical alert tattoo, you’re taking a great step to ensure proper care in case of emergency. What are the Risks? Suzanne Ghiloni, B.S.N, R.N., C.D.E., a nurse educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, says tattoo precautions for patients with diabetes aren’t all that different from anyone else getting a tattoo. “Make sure the parlor you choose is licensed, state inspected, and clean,” she says. When choosing a tattoo parlor, ask about how they manage their equipment. The shop you choose should: Have a licensed/accredited tattoo artist (preferably someone with artistic talent) Use a brand new needle just for you Autoclave their tattoo machines between customers Use disposable ink pots “The only time I’d be hesitant is if the person has uncontrolled diabetes,” says Ghiloni. Her advice to anyone with diabetes, “get your HBA1C in a good range before you go to the tattoo parlor.” The reason: if your levels are out of control, you put yourself at risk for slower healing, nasty infections and, in severe cases, amputation. “A person with diabetes need to be hyper-vigilant about preventing infection,” says Ghiloni. “Follow all the aftercare precautions.” Stephan Lanphear, an award winning tattoo artist who helped legalize tattoo parlors in Massachusetts, is also a Joslin patient living with type 1 diabetes. During the legalization process, Lanphear helped the board of health write guidelines and regulations for the tattoo industry. “Health releases in tattoo studios have a questio Continue reading >>

I Have Diabetes. Can I Get A Tattoo?

I Have Diabetes. Can I Get A Tattoo?

Tattoos. They are more popular than ever. Today, more than 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo. But if you have diabetes, getting a tattoo may pose unique risks. As diabetes educators, people sometimes ask us for advice about getting a tattoo. When you have diabetes, you really have to consider the physical consequences of everything you do. How does my blood sugar affect risks associated with tattoos? People may not realize that to get a tattoo, the skin is pierced between 50 and 3,000 times a minute by a tattoo machine. Your skin is a barrier that protects you from infections. Getting a tattoo breaks this barrier. A tattoo affects the dermis, or the second layer of skin, because the cells of the dermis are more stable than the first layer, or epidermis. Piercing skin at this level poses unique risks to people with diabetes. If your blood sugars are not in good control, your immune system is also affected — putting you at even higher risk for infection and potential difficulty fighting it off. Tattooing is under strict hygiene rules from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of this risk of infection. The needles must only be used once and the tattoo artist must wear gloves while doing the work. According to the FDA, among the most severe infections that can be transmitted is hepatitis. If you have considered the risk, and still want to get a tattoo, remember to do the following: Talk to your doctor first. It’s important to discuss your particular case with your doctor so he or she can assess your individual risk. Involving your doctor is even more important as the American Diabetes Association, which would normally offer guidance, has issued no official position statement at this time about tattoos. Make sure your blood sugar is in good control. Continue reading >>

6 Tattooing Tips For People With Type 1

6 Tattooing Tips For People With Type 1

A tattoo aficionado with Type 1 shares his experience on getting some ink done. I wanted to get a tattoo, but people discouraged me from doing it because of my Type 1 diabetes. The naysayers told me that we didn’t heal well enough, that we got infections too easily, that there was just too much risk. But then I began noticing people with diabetes-related tattoos. Some people were getting them on their wrists in place of MedicAlert bracelets. Others were getting more elaborate tattoos on other parts of their bodies. I learned about Darren Brass, a Miami tattoo artist with Type 1 diabetes. I read in Diabetes Mine about a columnist’s tattoo. Apparently we could get inked. sponsor Of course, as with everything in life, people with diabetes have some additional things to think about when it comes to tattoos. There are risks involved, as a tattoo is an open wound. Some people with diabetes heal slower than others, making the open wound more prone for infection. Many of us also deal with poor circulation, making tattoos on areas furthest from the heart a little more risky. After doing my research, I decided to get a diabetes-related tattoo of my own. At first I thought it would be a great idea to get a MedicAlert tattoo. But as I thought about it more, I decided a more elaborate diabetes-related tattoo would be a way to own my diabetes. No hiding, no ignoring, no running away, it would be a constant reminder to me. This is what I did to make sure my first tattoo went smoothly: -Made sure my A1C score was less than 7.0. -Made sure my 14-day blood sugar average was below 140 mg/dL. -Got my doctor’s approval before going under the pen. -Made sure I picked the right artist, one who had a good reputation and a clean parlor. -Brought a snack and checked my blood sugar at least Continue reading >>

Tattoos And Diabetes

Tattoos And Diabetes

Tweet Tattoos are a popular form of body art that involves using needles to inject ink under the skin. Having diabetes doesn't mean you can't have a tattoo, but before deciding to have one done you must be well and ensure that your diabetes is well controlled. High blood sugar levels, for example, can complicate the healing process and increase the risk of infection. Blood pressure should also be kept within the recommended target range. Bear in mind that your blood sugar level may rise whilst your tattoo is being applied. As this process can be quite long, painful and somewhat stressful, particularly if you've chosen a large and complex design - another reason why they must be stable before the procedure starts. However, they should return to normal the next day. Other things to consider before getting a tattoo include: Placement Permanent body art can be applied to nearly every part of the body. For people with diabetes, there are certain areas that should be avoided including those with poor circulation, such as: Buttocks Shins Ankles Feet Common insulin injection sites such as arms, abdomen and thighs. Tattoos in these places usually take longer to heal, which can lead to complications (e.g. infection). Design Tattoo designs are usually based on things that are meaningful or significant to the individual. For a person with diabetes, this could be something that includes clear medical symbols and/or text that indicates their condition. These so-called 'diabetes tattoos' have become quite common in recent years, with many diabetics using them to replace medical jewellery as a permanent form of diabetes identification. Design inspiration Members of the Diabetes.co.uk Facebook page shared their tattoos with us. Have a look, they're certainly a source of inspiration. Thi Continue reading >>

Diabetes & Tattoos: The Only 2 Things You Need To Know

Diabetes & Tattoos: The Only 2 Things You Need To Know

Diabetes & Tattoos: The ONLY 2 Things You Need to Know Diabetics cant or shouldnt get tattoos would likely be uttered from the same person who would say people with diabetes cant or shouldnt eat carbs. Not only is it an ignorant, projected opinion filled with misinformation, but it is simply incorrect. For some odd reason, people with diabetes get treated like we have leprosy and get told we cant do anything and that gets pretty frustrating at times especially because it is the furthest thing from the truth! Getting a tattoo is a personal choice and if you decide to get a tattoo, diabetes or no diabetes, you need to make sure of the following: The tattoo shop is accredited, licensed, up-to-date legally, and clean The tattoo artist has good reviews not only of the quality of his or her work (no one wants a bad tat, right?) but the healing process You are willing to 100% adhere to the healing procedure as directed by your artist There are many in-home, or street tattoo artists that might be cheaper but never risk your health to save a buck. After all, cheaper doesnt mean better and, in most cases, means worse in terms of quality. By simply following the advice above, getting a tattoo shouldnt be a problem for the average non diabetic but as a diabetic, there are 2 huge areas of caution you need to be aware of: your A1C and your healing time. A1C Requirements for Diabetics Getting Tattoos As much as we sometimes HATE checking and living by our A1C, it is a relatively good tool that lets us know how are blood sugar has been. If you really want to get some fresh ink, whether its a small tattoo or a sick sleeve, you need to be sure your A1C is in check. Having a high A1C going into a tattoo session can provide a plethora of problems. Elevatedblood sugar levels mean decreased Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Tattoos: Case Study And Guidance

Diabetes And Tattoos: Case Study And Guidance

A 29-year-old woman with insulin-dependent diabetes noted a painful erosion at the site of the tattoo which she had gotten 7 days before. A culture isolated staphylococcus aureus confirming the clinical impression of staph. This diagnosis was not entirely unexpected, since patients with diabetes mellitus are predisposed to staphylococcal infection. An oral cephalosporin cleared the cellulitis, leaving the tattoo a little distorted. The tattoo artist blamed the cellulitis on the patient’s failure to take proper care of the wound site. However, the lack of recurrent infections in the patient’s history indicates that she probably was not a carrier, and the infection grew from a new source. Tattoos are very popular, especially with teens. But the tattoo application process and aftercare, which can be long, painful and stressful, can create some problems for our diabetes patients. Blood pressure and blood sugar levels can both rise while a tattoo is being applied, and high blood sugar levels can also complicate the healing process, increasing the risk of infection. Other things to consider before getting a tattoo include…. Tattooist quality The tattoo studio should be licensed and/or accredited. The patients can also research the company’s reputation, and hygiene and safety practices. Safety and awareness The tattooist should be informed of the patient’s diabetes so they can tailor both the procedure and aftercare information. Placement Certain areas should be avoided including those with poor circulation, such as: Buttocks Shins Ankles Feet Common insulin injection sites such as arms, abdomen and thighs. Tattoos in these places usually take longer to heal, which can lead to complications (e.g. infection). Other Risks Allergic reactions – reaction to the substanc Continue reading >>

Can You Get A Tattoo While Taking Aspirin Or Blood Thinning Medication?

Can You Get A Tattoo While Taking Aspirin Or Blood Thinning Medication?

Whilst all tattoos bleed at least a small amount when being created, the amount of blood that is normally produced during the tattooing process is no cause for concern and doesn’t negatively affect the outcome of the tattoo in any way. However, taking blood thinners or aspirin before getting your tattoo can cause some potential problems. When taking blood thinners (and even alcohol to a lesser extent) before getting a tattoo, the blood thinning effects are going to make it much easier for the blood to seep through the tiny holes created by the needles, and the blood is going to be coming out in higher volumes than normal. Taking aspirin before getting a tattoo can also present problems. Aspirin naturally decreases your blood’s ability to clot efficiently. This means that during/after getting a tattoo, the area will likely continue to bleed for much longer than it would do under normal circumstances. Below are a number of issues that can be presented if taking blood thinning medication or aspirin before/after your tattooing session. Health risk due to blood loss This is the most important, and by far the most dangerous reason to not take any blood thinners before getting a new tattoo. Although very small tattoos shouldn’t cause too much of a problem, if you’ve got an all-day tattooing session booked in, then the potentially large amount of blood that you could loose throughout the day could cause many dangerous side effect that are associated with blood loss. Always consult a doctor before getting tattooed if you have a serious medical condition, and never stop taking any medication without your doctor’s advice beforehand. Lack of tattoo visibility When being tattooed, every so often (normally very frequently), your artist will have to wipe over the area that t Continue reading >>

Tattoos And Diabetes

Tattoos And Diabetes

Having diabetes does not mean that you cannot have a tattoo, and diabetes-specific tattoos can even act as forms of identification. Make sure you are 100 per cent sure certain about getting a tattoo, as changes of heart are common, while having a tattoo removed can be more expensive that the initial application. Blood sugar control Ensuring good control of your blood sugar levels is essential before getting a tattoo. Poor control of blood glucose levels can lead to infections, such as gangrene, as the tattoo will not heal as quickly and could result in complications. You should also keep your blood pressure within the recommended target range beforehand. Having a tattoo, particularly a complex and time-consuming design, can be a painful and stressful experience. Blood sugar levels and blood pressure can both rise during application. Keep your blood sugar levels stable before receiving a tattoo to prevent any complications in the healing process. You should inform the tattooist of your diabetes prior to application, and if necessary, arrange a longer session to account for regular breaks of roughly every hour to test blood sugar levels. Additional blood testing should be administered in the following days afterwards, although any effects on your blood sugar from receiving a tattoo should have culminated within a couple of days. Awareness and safety There are many risks not related to diabetes that can occur as a result of having a tattoo, including: Skin infections – If unclean equipment is used or proper aftercare is not administered then the area of your skin tattooed could become infected Allergic reactions – Due to the substances used in the inks and equipment. Very occasionally, people can develop allergic reactions to tattoos they have had for years Scarring Continue reading >>

Tattoos, Pedi's, And Other Diabetes No-no's

Tattoos, Pedi's, And Other Diabetes No-no's

As PWDs (people with diabetes), we face a huge laundry list of things we're supposed to do, and an equally long list of things we're not supposed to do, including having pedicures, getting waxed, or making any kind of permanent change to our bodies, namely getting pierced or tattooed. But where did these rules come from? And are they really worth listening to in this day and age? Today, Allison and I take a look a few of these "diabetes no-no's" to see what you can really get away with. Pedicures Amy: I didn't realize what a diabetes rebel I was until I read Kerri's recent post about the taboo on pedicures with diabetes. What the ... ? She was told as a youngster never to set foot in a nail salon, and has been afraid to do so ever since. I, on the other hand, who was diagnosed at age 37, happen to live for salon pedicures. I have for a number of years now. I've even been to several mani-pedi birthday parties for friends here in the San Francisco Bay Area. My girlfriends and I just love the love salon experience. Nothing is quite as relaxing as sitting in that automatic-massage chair and having your feet luxuriously cleaned and pampered by a professional. You pick out youir colors and then plunge your feet into that little foot-sized hot tub to soak in fragrance water before they even get started... mmmm... Could I cut my toenails at home and paint them myself? Certainly I could. I just don't want to. I know that there are many myths / rumors / warnings out there about salons that carry bacteria, but I, fortunately, have never had a negative experience, even after dozens (hundreds?) of salon pedicures. Salons have to be licensed by each state, and I always look for licensing information, usually displayed on the walls. I also look for general cleanliness clues, like wher Continue reading >>

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