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Bariatric Medical Alert Bracelet

Bariatric Medical Alert Bracelet

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      Once you’ve decided to have weight loss surgery, there seems to be an endless list of things to do to get prepared. There’s paperwork to sign, doctor appointments to keep, making arrangements for your kids and pets. It's recommended to stock the refrigerator for your post-op meal of sugar-free Jell-O, popsicles, protein shakes, water and broth.

      Following surgery, there will be follow-up appointments with your surgeon and nutritionist to help monitor your post-surgical progress and to identify any areas that need to be addressed. What about when the unexpected happens, though?

      Old man staring at the camera.
      Medical ID bracelets (also called bariatric medical alert bracelets/tags/necklaces) can provide valuable information in an instant.

      What To Do in an Emergency Situation

      Being educated on possible complications related to weight loss surgery will help patients recognize when a doctor or hospital visit is necessary. However, emergencies are not always predictable. For this reason, many weight loss surgery patients have opted to purchase a medical identification bracelet.

      A medical ID bracelet is a bracelet you wear around your wrist that has your medical ID information on the tag. If you are injured or in an accident and are unable to communicate, a medical ID bracelet can provide information about you to emergency care providers.

      Who Needs a Medical ID?

      The first thing many people think about when discussing a medical ID or alert is that they are for individuals with a significant health issue, such as diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure), heart-related issues, or for the elderly. While these individuals could benefit from a bariatric medical alert bracelet or necklace, bariatric patients can also benefit.

      While not all bariatric patients have embraced the idea of “needing” a bariatric medical alert bracelet, there is no doubt that, for some, it could help prevent further injury/trauma after an accident or medical emergency.

      Depending on the type of medical ID a person chooses, information that is displayed may vary. The information that is most often displayed is the patient’s name, emergency contact, allergies, and any significant medical diagnosis.

      Address and social security number should not be displayed, as identity theft could occur if the identification is lost or stolen. In most cases, the emergency contact person will be able to provide that information to medical personnel, if needed.

      Because of the significant changes that bariatric surgery causes, many patients opt to wear a bracelet or another form of wearable medical ID.

      Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Medical Alert Bracelet Wording

      In addition to the person’s name, physician name, and emergency contact, bariatric surgery patients who wear a medical ID bracelet should have information such as “No NSAIDS,” “No Sugar,” and “No Blind NG tube” engraved on their bracelet/charm.

      Woman sitting on the couch looking at a book.
      Knowing what should be printed on your bariatric medical alert ID is important.

      Anyone with any medical condition can benefit from wearing a medical ID. Bariatric patients are no exception. Having a bariatric medical alert bracelet/jewelry can help notify emergency medical personnel of your history as a bariatric patient, so they can know which treatments to avoid.

      Here are a few reasons weight loss patients should consider wearing a medical ID and what should be written on the bracelet/charm.

      • No Sugar: Most bariatric patients cannot tolerate high sugar intake. Consuming too much sugar can result in dumping syndrome, which can cause very unpleasant symptoms and, if it’s not treated, can become dangerous. Dumping syndrome occurs when food moves too quickly from the stomach into the small intestine. It can result in symptoms such as feeling shaky, sweating, dizziness, rapid heart rate, nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

        If an emergency were to occur, medical personnel should be made aware that sugar should be avoided.

        This is important as some medications have simple sugars in them, and an alternative medication should be offered when possible.
      • No NSAIDS: Following weight loss surgery, especially Roux en Y gastric bypass, the stomach is much smaller (pouch-like), and it should be protected from anything that could cause trauma or injury. Some medications, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications, can cause stomach irritation resulting in ulcers, irritation, or damage to the stomach.

        Examples of these medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
      • No Blind NG Tube:  Bariatric surgery results in a change in the size and shape of the stomach.

        If a gastric tube needs to be used, it should not be done “blindly.” What this means is a camera should be used to help guide the tube into the appropriate place in the stomach.

      Where Can I Get a Bariatric Medical Alert Bracelet?

      There are several places that bariatric medical alert/ID bracelets can be purchased. Prices range from $10 up to over $100, depending on the style you want. Your surgeon or his staff may recommend a supplier that offers discounts to patients. It’s always a good idea to ask.

      Medical ID bracelets vary from simple to ornate. You will find designs for men, women, and unisex options. Below are a few sources where medical IDs can be purchased as well as some sample pictures of their products.

      • Lauren’s Hope offers a vast array of medical ID bracelets, necklaces, and charms that range from simple to very ornate. Their medical ID bracelets and jewelry come in several metal tones, materials, and styles, and they are custom-engraved and size per the customer’s specifications.
      • American Metal ID offers unlimited engraving on their medical ID products for only $7 per item.
      • Wal-Mart in addition to bracelets, necklaces, and charms, many medical ID suppliers offer specialty items like these “Dog-Tag” necklaces and charms that I found on Walmart.com. As the picture below reflects, if there is too much information to print on the back of the charm, there is an option of having it engraved with “See Wallet Card.” Be sure to always have your wallet card with you.
      • Hope Paige offers a variety of products from collections of light-up nighttime athletic wear to ornate bracelets and necklaces in a variety of attractive colors and styles.
      Man riding a bicycle with his thumb held up.
      Knowing where to get the right bariatric medical bracelet is important for everyone who has had bariatric surgery. 

      How you plan for the unexpected and whether you choose to wear a bariatric medical alert bracelet is a personal decision. When the unexpected happens, wearing a bariatric medical alert bracelet could help reduce the risk of any additional trauma or injury. Also, talk with your family and friends about what could happen in the event a medical emergency occurs. Make sure they know to disclose that you had weight loss surgery to anyone who is providing medical care if you are unable to communicate for yourself. Safety should always be a priority.

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        Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA

        Author

        Darby is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty-five years experience. Most of all, she loves empowering patients with the knowledge they need to live full, healthy lives.

        Gintas Antanavicius, MD, FACS, FASMBS

        Medical Reviewer

        Dr. G is a co-founder of BariBuilder. A US-based expert surgeon with over 10 years of bariatric experience, he regularly publishes research in medical journals like SOARD, Obesity Surgery, etc.