1. Style
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Diabetes Tattoos


Diabetes Tattoos


Image courtesy tattoopics@flickr
Tattooing is a personal and expressive form of body art. If you have diabetes there are several things you'll need to consider before getting a tattoo. Follow these precautions for a safe experience.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body produces fuel.

In normal circumstances, digested food is broken down into glucose. With the help of insulin, glucose circulates in the blood waiting to enter cells, where it will later be used for energy.

When the process of fuel production is not functioning properly blood sugars increase to abnormal and even deadly levels, resulting in a "pre" or diabetic diagnosis.

How Can I Prevent Diabetes?

There are three variations of diabetes; Type 1, Type 2 and gestational. While all three types are different, they carry similar symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, and they also share the same treatment options and goals.

Diabetes 1 is often called juvenile diabetes. This form is usually immune-mediated and can affect both children and adults. Type 2 diabetes is often attributed to lifestyle choices, weight, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women without any prior symptoms of the disease. Luckily with action and positive changes, diabetes can be treated effectively.

Diabetes tattoos can be worn for many reasons. Whether to help raise awareness, lend support, assist in medical emergencies or to share a little love with the diabetic community, a diabetes tattoo may help you cope with your condition in a positive and affirming manner.

Can a Diabetic Get a Tattoo?

Yes, under most circumstances it's safe to get a tattoo if you have diabetes. However, if your disease coexists with kidney, circulation, or neuropathy conditions, getting a tattoo can be very dangerous and your tattooist will likely refuse for your own health and safety.

If you have high levels of blood sugar your tattoo will not heal properly. That means it will be prone to infection which could result in heart disease and even gangrene. When in doubt, clear it with your physician. A hemoglobin AC1 test will determine whether your diabetes is properly managed and if it's safe to proceed.

In addition to testing your blood glucose, make sure you eat prior to getting a tattoo. Be advised your blood glucose may slightly increase during the session due to stress and pain. This should subside within a day, and sugars should return to normal. As always, seek medical treatment if necessary.

Placement Suggestions

Because people diagnosed with diabetes can suffer from poor circulation, it's advisable to avoid any areas with circulatory problems; including the ankles, legs and feet. You may also want to avoid injections spots such as the abdomen, thigh and upper arms. Instead, place a diabetes tattoo where it is visible should there be a medical emergency, or where you can appreciate the strength and hope the symbol may internalize.

The wrist make ideal placement. You may also consider a diabetes tattoo on your chest for medical alert purposes.

In addition to a diabetic theme, some people add other tattoo influences to their art whether that be images or verse. Old School tattoo designs such as an anchor , make a strong choice for those living with their condition. You could also swear off sugar for good, and instead opt for a colorful New School tattoo in a cupcake or sprinkled confection design.

Ribbon tattoos can be worn to raise awareness for both childhood diabetes or adult onset. Often, ribbons are tattooed into an infinity loop for extra design detail. Angel wing tattoos can be combined with a ribbon to offer both hope and protection.

Quote and script tattoos can help inspire a commitment to health. Consider verses such as "I refuse to sink" "Adjust your sails" or "From strength to strength" (Psalms 84:7) to encourage a new way of life.

To learn more about diabetes and to determine risk, be sure to visit the American Association of Diabetes here.

  1. About.com
  2. Style
  3. Tattoos/Body Piercings
  4. Designs and Ideas
  5. Diabetes and Tattoos - Is It Safe to Get a Tattoo?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.