The diabetes and awareness tattoos on this page are as permanent in our lives as living with diabetes is.
In November of 2006, a group of people with diabetes in their lives wanted to do something different to raise diabetes awareness. They decided to get diabetes tattoos. For some, it was a challenge. Others saw it as a fantasy come true. For everyone though, it was a very public display of love.
Since then, we have updated this gallery of great diabetes tattoos to include many more designs.
Please enjoy the art and love the stories. If you are considering getting a diabetes tattoo, we have a few things that you may want to consider before you do. Once you make the decision to get a tattoo, we would love it if you share your design with us!
The diabetes tattoo that started it all
This is where this page began, with my own tattoo. Here is my story.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and so November of 2006 seemed the appropriate time to have a diabetes awareness tattoo created.
No one in my immediate family had a clue that I was even considering this. My oldest son was shocked. My youngest told me I took after him and was tough! Despite the initial shock, the reaction to my diabetes awareness tattoo has been the same—Wow!
The tattoo artist created two hearts for my two children—equal in my love. He added a touch of color that reflected their birthstones. He kept hues soft and loving while adding in a Diabetes Awareness ribbon. The drop of blood reflects the blood my son parts with every time he checks his blood glucose levels.
The fit is perfect for my shoulder. The concept is a reflection of my heart.
In June of 2017, I had the image retouched as 11 years of showers had faded the original work.
Diabetes Tattoo Gallery
Here are many diabetes and diabetes awareness tattoos that have been sent to us over the years. They have come from individuals all over the world. These diabetes tattoos are on people with type 1 diabetes, those with type 2 diabetes as well as the many family and friends who support them on their journey with diabetes. They are symbols of love and provide some with a new level of comfort not found in traditional jewelry.
More Tattoo Stories
Here are the many tattoos that have been sent to us over the years and their stories.
You can also view our complete Tattoo Gallery here.
Please share your work with us by sending them to [email protected]
Hi, My name is Aimee and I have had Type I Diabetes for 23 years at the time of this photo. I decided to get this tattoo because it had to mean something to me. Since I have been living with diabetes most of my life, I figured why not. I just wanted to share the picture…it is kind of a unique design. I am a big advocate for diabetes and finding a cure. I work as a nurse and I am always in contact with people who have this disease. Having it myself allows me to meet them at their level and understand better what they are going through. Thanks for letting me share.
I just got this diabetes tattoo. It makes me feel safer and I really like the symbol, so I think it makes a pretty neat tattoo (:
My names Alexandra and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8 and am now 23 years old. This tattoo idea came to me when sketching up some ideas and not really liking just the diabetes ribbon as a tattoo. I came up with a bow instead and put the medical symbol in the center for the knot. I thought it created a unique design. Having developed complications in the past from not taking care of myself this tattoo means a lot. I inspire people every day when I’m out and it makes me feel really great!
Hi, I wanted to share a picture of my Diabetes tattoo for your site. I was diagnosed about 1.5 years ago putting an end to my flight career. I decided I didn’t like medic alert bracelets and I was going to look into a tattoo. After looking at your site for inspiration I made up a design and here is the end product. Thank you!
I’ve been diabetic for about three years now, and I got sick of wearing and worrying about my medical ID bracelets. So I got a tattoo! I chose a design more personal to me than the more classic medical alert tattoos I’ve seen, and I absolutely love it. I feel so free!
I wrote a blog for www.therollercoasterrideofdiabetes.com about finally having my diabetes tattoo done last month … this year I’m heading into my 51st year of diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes. My love of advocacy … helping others as a mentor … and meeting other diabetics when I travel around the world … encouraged me to have this done. I chose the cat because of my pen name … FatCatAnna … plus had the artist curl the tail of the cat into a blue circle … that is the most recognized for being the symbol for diabetes.
I was diagnosed with diabetes a little over a year ago. I got tired of wearing my bracelet and forgetting it when I left the house. I thought a tattoo around my wrist would be the answer.
My name is Andy. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in July of 2014. Diabetes runs in my family but I was still somewhat surprised because I believed that if I ate right and stayed active that it would not happen to me. I was wrong and I realized that no matter how well you take care of yourself, it can still happen. I changed how I eat and checked my blood sugar often, after a few months it was well controlled. I thought “I’ve got this” and so I stopped checking my blood sugar but stayed on my diet etc. I was wrong again. After two years I slowly started to feel sick and in about six months the symptoms came back. I had high blood sugars, and it was completely out of control. I decided I would NEVER underestimate diabetes again. My tattoo is a medical alert and a daily reminder for me. Some people say that it could be mistaken for just a “cool tattoo” and get ignored by emergency responders. It is on my left arm, with medical alert symbols they recognize and clearly labeled “Diabetic Type 2”. Doctors, nurses and EMT workers have all said, this tattoo may someday save my life. It has never been mistaken as anything else, and I would support anyone who would want to get one. Yes, it hurt but I would do it again because it is an awesome Bad A$$ tattoo.
This is my tattoo that brings me calm in emergencies. I am Brazilian and I have type 1 diabetes.
This is my new ink. I have been a type 1 diabetic since April 17, 2009. I have been in construction my whole life so I can’t wear medical bracelets, so this is my answer to that. I have been on your web site several times to see other’s artwork and get ideas before I got mine done. I love your site and can’t wait to see all the other ideas people come up with.
This is the tattoo I got a while back. I don’t like bracelets, necklaces etc. so for a long time never wore anything. Guess I thought an EMT could figure it out seeing my pump & CGM. My wife who is a tattoo affection ado was getting one and said come on, I’ll buy you your first. We made the appointment which she thought I wouldn’t go to but did. Thinking about what to have put on I figured how about a medic alert. I found this site and got some ideas along with what I had in mind and came up with this. Cliff, one of the owners of Oshkosh Tattoo and Good Girl Piercing (and a real talented & great guy) touched up my design a bit and put it on. I’ve had Type-1 since age four which was 1957 when having a physical to enter kindergarten and was diagnosed. The last 54 years are history. My father’s father had diabetes and was the second person in Wisconsin to take insulin and my mother was a nurse so being diagnosed that early didn’t allow me to acquire a lot of bad habits. I was also fortunate to have a mom and dad who were knowledgeable, willing and able to help me early on. Bob Marquart .Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Bobbie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Hello, I’ve been diabetic for about 23 years now. I am an electrician and cannot wear jewelry of any kind while at work. I have broken and lost so many chains and medic alert pendants over the years it’s ridiculous. I wanted my daughter-in-law to create a leather type chain to wear around my neck for a medic alert pendant when she suggested I get a tattoo instead. Never have to worry about losing or forgetting to put on anything again !! After a variety of different designs and a GREAT tattoo artist, HERE IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My name is Brent been diabetic for 8 years have 3 tatts and this is the only one visible it serves as a great reminder for me to take care of my self and a conversation starter with people in society. Also I have not received any negative comments from anyone.
I am 17 years old, and am about to move out of my house, away from my Dad, who is 39 years old. He has had Diabetes for 37-38 years now, and the reason he got it is from insulin he was given as a kid to prevent diseases. Typical baby shots right? Wrong. His body apparently reacted wrong to the shots, and made his pancreas fail, giving him Type 1 Diabetes. A perfectly normal baby turned into a diabetic almost before he could walk. I designed this tattoo myself, and it in on my inner wrist if you cannot see, it is in honor of my dad and everyone with diabetes in the world. I hope they will find a cure so my dad doesn’t have to endure (or anyone in this matter) multiple shots everyday. Or taking a pill everyday. I, Brian J. Kilgore, am a proud Diabetes Advocate from San Diego CA.
In 2004 my Dad Brian became very sick. We were unaware of what was wrong. I will never forget that day in March when he came home from the Doctors and told my Mom in the hallway that he has been diagnosed with diabetes… His doctor said he has a rare case, he is between type 1 and type 2 his pancreas still produces insulin, but other times he will need the injection. He can control it if he monitors it. He always told me that I wasn’t allowed to get a tattoo until I was 18 because he didn’t want me to get one and regret getting it because I didn’t want it anymore. So in 2009 after I graduated high school me and my mom went together to get our first tattoo. I got the Diabetic butterfly just for him 🙂 He had no idea what I was getting so it was a surprise to him when I came home to show him. He was very proud and didn’t think one of his kids would have that much respect for him. I am now 19 and I will never regret this tattoo, it means the world to me, it will always remind me of how strong he is and what an influence he has on my life. I am blessed to call him my Dad….Jaime
My name is Brian. I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes in December of 2009. I struggled with coming to terms with my “new normal” until I took real ownership of it in February of 2013. At that time I became involved with the ADA and their Tour de Cure cycling event. It was a life-changing experience and I have been greatly influenced by it. Your logo spoke directly into my heart and it gives me a visual reminder that there is a new life after diagnosis. A life well lived with diabetes. This visual reminder will remain permanently to help keep me on track and vigilant daily in my management. Thank you for all that you do in the diabetic community!
My son Brody was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in September 2007 at the ripe ol’ age of 7. A total shock to us as it was found during a basketball physical. It has totally turned our lives around as now we are experts in carb-counting, blood sugar checks, insulin, needles, etc. He has been so brave and I am so proud of him for dealing with it like he has. He is my inspiration which is why I decided to get a tattoo in honor of him and all the children living with this awful disease. It is the “Children with Diabetes” ribbon inside his zodiac sign “Gemini”
My name is Brooke I have type 1. I got diagnosed 3 days after my 8th birthday. I am now 17. I got this tattoo as a symbol of support for myself and others.
I was diagnosed with a severe yet rare case of diabetes nearly 2 and half years ago back in April 2011 where I’m basically type 1 and 2. Not only does my pancreas not produce insulin, but my body also doesn’t utilize it very well in which case I’m prone to extremely high glucose levels and need twice the amount of insulin a so-called ‘normal’ type 1 would need. I didn’t even want to deal with bracelets or necklaces at all so I got the idea of just getting it tattooed on from my mom. She’s allergic to bees and penicillin and has the medical symbol on top of her wrist with bees on one side and pen on the other. I decided to get mine in a way that looked like an actual bracelet because hers has faded in a way that at first glance just looks like a cool tat instead of a medical ID. November is Diabetes Awareness month so will hopefully be submitting another picture here soon. ~Callie~
I got my ink after being diagnosed with type 2, now I’m aware and taking care of it I’m ‘in safe hands’.
My son, Cody was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on August 15, 1999. He was 6 years old. It is completely heartbreaking to see a child have to live with this disease. Cody is now 17 and still struggles with diabetes on a daily basis. I got a diabetes ribbon tattoo during the summer of 2004. Cody told me last night that he wanted to have a diabetes tattoo on his wrist. I found your website and wanted to share my story. Thank you
Collin was inspired by our page to get his own tattoo done! “I got this tattoo a couple of weeks ago. It turned out great and I am pleased with it. Hopefully, it remains legible. I was done by Tim Forbus at Incognito in Pasadena CA. Make sure your ignorant boss knows that it is a medical alert and not for Fun or something…”
I am a type 2 diabetic and wanted to share my tattoo. I am a strong advocate of the American Diabetes Association and want to promote their cause and awareness. ~Craige
My name is Curt and I wanted to share my medical alert tattoo with you. I have been a juvenile diabetic for 34 years since the age of 7. I changed the snakeheads to spud wrenches because I am an ironwork superintendant and wanted my tattoo to be a little different. This web site gave me some inspiration for the design and to get it done.
My is Dave Fisher. July 22, 2012 I was diagnosis with sugar of 1138 . And now I came off my insulin 5 months now. And just got my tattoo. I have lost 60 lbs. and went from a 45 waist to a 34. Never say you can’t!!! Almost 1yr. Type II and I love riding my road bike and I did 63 miles in Philadelphia tour de cure for diabetes.
My wife has literally saved my life. She alerted me to all my diabetic symptoms and begged me to get checked. I relented after about 3 years (yes, I can be dense at times). After a 14 hour fast, my blood glucose level was 675, and when my A1C was checked, it was beyond 14%. after about 4 years on oral meds, my pancreas finally died, and am now insulin-dependant. Instead of buying and losing one necklace or bracelet after another, I finally got a tattoo on my right forearm. And I think he did an excellent job…much MUCH better than the design I gave him.
I wanted to share my unique Diabetic Tattoo. My tattooist designed this himself, with a little guidance from me and I LOVE it! It’s so pretty and delicate but big enough and obvious enough for people (hopefully medics) to notice it. I wanted a tattoo because unlike a bracelet/necklace, you can never forget to put it on or it cannot get lost.
I was told I had Type 2 diabetes in Dec. of 2009. I had been tired and thirsty, but did not realize the symptoms. Then medication, diet and exercise to keep it in check. My kids kept after me to wear something, but I did not want a thing I could lose. So I elected to get a tattoo. I got a design, changed it a little and had it put on the underside of my left wrist. Now we all felt better, and I have a ‘signal’ in case I have a problem. 80 and taking care of myself.
I have been a diabetic for 19 years now and I thought since I’m allergic to metal around my neck and wrists I might as well get the medical symbol stating that I’m a diabetic. I was rushed to the Emergency Room back in Sept 2008 and if my sister wasn’t there the paramedics and doctors would not have had any idea to test my blood sugar and to rush with me due to me going into a DKA. Elizabeth
Ellen’s mom sent her daughter off to university. Among the tools she sent to help her with her diabetes management was the address to this website. Much to Ellen’s mother’s dismay, she was inspired to have “diabetic” tattooed on her wrist…”So my mom informed you of my new tattoo! lol ! It’s amazing I feel really inspired having it. Believe it or not it’s just like a constant reminder to do the things I sometimes forget to do, its better having a tattoo remind you than a parent sometimes lol! It’s great to not wear a medical bracelet, my wrist feels so free !” Ellen W
My daughter has been a type 2 diabetic for 10 years now, and I followed suit about 5 years ago. I have tried several different bracelets but they don’t seem to like my skin to much. So I happen to start researching tattoos online and found quite a few I liked, so I took one I found and made it mine. There are 2 parts to this 1) For medical purposes 2) For my daughter and awareness of any type of Diabetes. Perfect example: My tattoo artist asked me how many types there were and what was the difference, and what are the signs. While getting the tattoo I had an audience of tattoo artists asking questions. So far its doing its job!
Tonight went well…although I would NOT recommend to anyone they get their shoulder tattooed. IT HURT! Now some might say “duh”, but honestly my lower back tattoo didn’t hurt AT ALL- this one….good thing there were other people there watching so I kept being brave….OUCH. Now after I had my shower this evening it felt a lot better being rinsed off and cleaned- but remind me next time I mention doing this what this one felt like…all for Gail. The things we do for our kids (lol) Everything went really good- the television people didn’t go- thank goodness. I think I was more nervous about them being there than anything, BUT the newspaper WAS- and they took about 50 pictures so who can tell what will end up in the paper.
Here is a little bit of our story! 😉 Having to watch your child fight this illness day and night makes it easy to see the negative side of it, but there are also some positive outcomes to T1 diabetes in our lives. Today, I would like to bring solidarity and compassion to your attention. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed as much support and understanding as I’ve seen in the T1 community, whether it is coming from the DOC, online forums, T1 Blogs or even Facebook groups.
At the age of 4 (about 8 months after his diagnosis), our son Jacob started using a Medtronic insulin pump. It was brand new with a cool jelly bean skin on it, but needless to say, he was still feeling all alone on his diabetes planet! I guess not having many T1 children in our hometown and surrounding area didn’t help. Even if he loved wearing his pump, I could tell he felt like an outcast, different from all the other kids. Sure enough, one day he came to me and said “Mom, why can’t I be like the other kids? Am I the only one in the entire world wearing a pump?”
That broke my heart! I tried to explain to him that all kids had their own differences. That Kellyann had a surgery to resize one of her ears, Noah wears an ear piece to help him hear, Edward can’t eat fish, nuts or even drink milk because of his allergies, other kids wear glasses or move around in wheelchairs. Then I told him that we all have our own differences – that’s what makes us all the same!
After that conversation, I turned to my husband Philippe and said “We have to do something, we need to find a solution so Jacob doesn’t feel so alone!” It was at that moment the idea of a tattoo emerged!
Diabetes does not define who we are but it is definitely a part of our lives. As long as Phil and I walk this earth we will do everything in our power to make sure our sweet little boy thrives and becomes the best human being he can be. This tattoo symbolizes the link between us three and it is also a symbol of love, life and hope. I am sure every T1 parent has said at one point “I would take his/her illness in a heartbeat if I could!” Of course it’s impossible, but what is possible is to show compassion, support and LOVE with all your heart!
I strongly believe that the day will come where there will be a cure for all people with diabetes. That day my sweet child will be free along with millions of other people. Even then, Phil and I will proudly wear our pumps for the rest of our days in solidarity with the greatest hero we know!
It is hard to describe how thrilled Jacob was when he saw our pumps for the first time. All I can tell you is that the feeling we got back from his emotions was bigger than life! We promised him he would never again be alone in the world to wear a pump. Promise made, promise kept!
Camille, Phil and Jacob
Jake’s tattoo that he had done in 2011. He’s been type one diabetic since he was 4. Done by Matt Pearl at Dead Serious Tattoo in Western Springs, IL
This is the tattoo I got about a year and a half ago. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 5 years ago and it completely changed my life. Not in a negative but it has changed. Growing up I was around diabetes with my father being a type 2 and my close cousin a type one so it wasn’t anything new to me. But I always joked with my father about getting matching tattoos of a diabetic theme. Well knowing a friend that is a tattoo artist and also a diabetic he was all for this idea, so this is what he came up with and I just fell in love with it. So now three people now have this matching tattoo. It’s reads “death by sugar” at the top, but underneath it has my meaning of life and the tools to live to keep the balance I need.
For my brother Jamie. He passed away May 2nd 2011. I miss him more and more every day. He was only 33 years old:'(
Jan got this tattoo so he would not have to wear a medical alert necklace.
From Hungary diagnosed 2012.06.18
This tattoo was done at Hosstyle Tattoos in Fredericton, NB by Hoss Locke. My daughter Jayde Kasia was diagnosed in November of 1996. Gina M, Boiestown, NB
My name is JeVonda, and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January 2010, at age 30. I have never liked jewelry on my wrist, but ordered a bracelet anyway. Needless to say, I’ve only worn it 2 or 3 times in a year, so I decided to get the tattoo instead.
I got mine in case I ever am without my medical ID. I feel much safer having it permanently on my body. I am a Type 1.
My name is John Solberg I have been Type 1 diabetic for 32 years. I always have hated having things on my wrist’s or around my neck but knew I needed to have a way to let someone know in case of an emergency. This was bought for me by my family and was done by Leif Goldrick of Lunatic Tattoo in Vancouver, WA. This was so much better and more than I expected and I love this tattoo!
My name is Jonathan. I am 30 yrs old. I was diagnosed type 1 diabetic when I was 5 yr old. I have recently been diagnosed with Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Retinopathy. I recently visited diabetesadvocacy.com it was inspirational for me and shows that we are not alone. God bless all of you!
I’m 25. My name’s Jonathan. I have 8 tattoos and this is my newest tatt! I’ve been diabetic since April 21st 2010. I got this tattoo in Daytona on Friday night.
My name is Jordan F and this is my Diabetic tattoo. I have had this disease for 10 years (diagnosed in 2000 I was 7) and I have always wanted to have a tattoo that marked this day forever. When I go to work in the medical field it helps that I do not have on an actual id because life can get somewhat crazy. I love my tattoo because I know that anyone will know I am a Diabetic. When they develop a cure that is completely safe I want to have my diagnoses date and cured date with the word cured in the middle. I love my tattoo even if it marks a day that changed my life.
My name is Julie G and I have been a type 1 diabetic for over 25 years. I just got this tattoo in honour of diabetes awareness month. Although having the disease is a daily struggle and I have been afflicted with many of the complications of the disease, it has made me a strong, resilient, aware person. Others I have spoken to with juvenile diabetes have often said we feel like members of a special club!
For Karin’s mom
In memory of my Mother who passed away after years of complications because of her diabetes!
I am Katia. I have been a diabetic since about fifth grade. I was diagnosed in September 2003. I am 17 now so its been about 7 1/2 years. I’ve wanted this
tattoo for about three years. I finally got it so I wanted to share it with you.
Kavan was diagnosed in October 2009 with Type 1 diabetes. He always disliked wearing jewellery so his doctor mentioned another patient who had a tattoo done instead. Kavan found Diabetes Advocacy while looking for ideas and headed to Evolution Tattoo in Santa Rosa, CA to have the tattoo done. Po, a Taiwanese artist did the work. He did not know what diabetes was until Kavan explained that his body does not process sugar and Po realized that his good friend had the same condition! Kavan has noticed that within the first day of having his tattoo people already recognize it and an EMT friend of his said it was definitely has good as a bracelet or necklace.
Kim didn’t like any of the medical bracelets out there so she checked out our Tattoo page and decided that this was the way for her to wear her medical bracelet!
I was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I Diabetes. I had gone through so many bracelets and necklaces that it was getting to expensive! I work in the EMS business so I knew that a tattoo was the way to go! It will last forever! I looked and looked online to see what everyone else had and I knew I liked the 3-D look. I found this one and loved it! So glad I got it!
My son Kody was diagnosed last year at the age of 6. It changed our lives forever. Most people don’t realize the sacrifice children and adults make daily with this affliction. Kody is so brave he has already learned to test and give himself injections in less than a year. He held us, his parents, together when we didn’t know what to do. My tattoo is of both of my boys, but Kody did the colors and final dragon design. He is an awesome artist and I wanted to do something that showed my kids will always be supported by me but showed the strength they have no matter what they face. Every time everyone asks, I give them the story so they know how serious type 1 diabetes is.
Ring is the diabetic logo ring. Nautical star is for good luck in our travels/future. Medical Alert Symbol, because it is with us forever now. Date on the left is Kody’s Birthday. Date on the right is Kody’s DX date. Both dates are dates my life changed forever! Type 1 son says it all.
Kristen’s sister Stephanie had this tattoo done for her. I’m Steph, I got the tattoo this past summer for my little sister, Kristen, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes seven years ago when she was ten years old. It has the word “Nakupenda” which is Swahili for “I love you”. Kristen taught me that word a few years back because I’ve always had a fascination with Africa and deeply was interested in learning Swahili. This is for my sister showing that I love her and support Type 1 diabetes awareness.
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2008. In 2009 I decided to get my diabetes tat. Since I have several tattoos it was a no brainer to get my diabetes one. I put it on my inner left wrist.
I’m Kyle 16 live in Chicago. I got this tattoo a little over a year ago at the age of 15 because my mom was scared about letting me leave the house because I frequently left my med. alert bracelet at home. The tattoo also helps to spread awareness and I think all diabetics old and young alike should consider a medical tatt.
For Lendy’s sister
My baby sister was diagnosed at 3 with type 1, after a near coma call with acidosis and a misdiagnosis by a now unemployed ER doctor. Changed our lives completely. My tattoo is of her NovoPen Jr. She is the toughest (now 5) little kid I know. I’m so proud of how far she has come and how it has allowed me to help the lives of other people. -Lendy
For Libby, Alex, and Tom
Based on Barb’s tattoo, Darlene had this shoulder tattoo done for her family in November 2007. A work of art…a work of love. Thank you again for sharing with us!
Libby’s tattoo was designed by her. The stars represent her parent’s birthstones.
Hi! My name is Lindsay and I am 24 years old; I was diagnosed 15 years ago with type 1 diabetes and have worn a medical alert bracelet every day since then…that is until this week when I got my medi-alert tattoo! I designed it myself on the computer and got it inked at a shop in Ithaca, NY. I also wanted to thank the people responsible for putting together this site; this is the place where I found the inspiration to get my own tattoo!
The stories on this website inspired me to finally get my tattoo. This past August was the 19 year anniversary for me having had Type 1 Diabetes. I was 8 when I was diagnosed and I am 27 now. I am proud of how well I have done living with a chronic disease like this and want to bring awareness to the fact that 1 in 2 Americans will have some form of Diabetes by 2020. Exercise and eat in moderation. Control your glucose levels as best as you can and educate those that refuse to acknowledge the dangers of uncontrolled diabetes. As you all know, it is not an easy disease to live with. I am proud of the group of people who have shared their stories. You are all true inspirations. XOXO
Hi, my name is Lisa. I was diagnosed in 1984 at the age of 17 with Type 1 diabetes. Always non-compliant but seemed to manage, a major case of non-acceptance until last year when I finally got a pump. Prior to that, I never wore any medical alert, hated the bracelets, necklaces. Whilst in hospital having the pump set up the diabetes educator went right off at me for not having any medical alert ID. The following day I scoured jewellery shops, chemists and on-line etc looking for something suitable, the only one I liked was a gold bracelet that was AUD$1,300 which I could not afford. My husband called out from the other room “…why don’t you get a tattoo…” – so that was that! What a great idea, it has marked my ‘coming out’ of denial and I have now fully accepted my condition and have finally started looking after myself, thanks to the pump! This tattoo means a great deal to me.
My name is Martin M, I have 34 years and at 16 I have type 1 diabetes, insulin-dependent am I live in Buenos Aires Argentina, and this is my tattoo. The site is very interesting.
“Love the site, keep up the good work!”
Hi there I absolutely love the website. I got a lot of inspiration for my tattoo from here. I designed the general layout with the finished product made by Matt Mooneyham of Hot Rot Tattoo in Chandler, AZ. This was my second tattoo and I wanted it to be a diabetic id, along with a more artistic and personal feeling. Feel free to post it! Sincerely, Mike C. 19, AZ
My name is Kim and I got this tattoo in honor and memory of my late husband Mike and to bring awareness to Diabetes.
I have Type-II diabetes … had it for years, but only recently began taking insulin (Lantus) with my Victoza and Metformin. I’ve worn medical bracelets, an Italian charm bracelet with a large medical diabetes charm, and two different armbands from survivalstraps.com. After a while I tend to either forget to put them on, not want to put them on any more, and they just end up on my bathroom counter. I had been toying with getting a diabetes tattoo for a while and recently the tattoo studio around the corner from our house was the victim of an arsonist … they lost all of their equipment in the fire. Fortunately, they were in the process of opening a second studio and were able to continue operations there until they got everything settled with the insurance and rebuild the studio. To support them during this time my wife and I made appointments at the new shop … on Monday I sat down with the artist and we came up with this design. It’s pretty simple, but very visible and bright. It is located inside of my right wrist.
My name is Nathan Denton. I am 17 Years old. Diagnosed at age of 5 with Type 1, Juvenile Diabetes. Got the tattoo in 2010, a few weeks after school started. My father helped me design the tattoo. Since then, have helped other diabetic friends design their own tattoos.
My name is Nick Masters. I have been living with type 1 diabetes since I was first diagnosed in 1994. I just turned 18 and wanted to get my tattoo to help promote awareness for diabetes. I originally wanted to get this because I didn’t like wearing the bracelet or necklace. Most of my family members have type 1 diabetes, and I did this to help them through their struggle as well.
For Nicky G
My 8 year old son Nick was diagnosed June 23rd. I have become an advocate for him and other children fighting the daily fight versus Type I diabetes. We had 80 walkers join us for the JDRF Walk for a Cure in Denver as well as raising $6,000. A month ago Nick said to me that he doesn’t mind the new diet, the testing or the needles… he does mind however being different. I told him that he can do everything his buddies can do but at school when he has to leave class to get tested or an insulin injection he is a little different. I promised him I would do something that would make daddy a little different so we could be “different” together. The result was what you see here. The design was a collaboration between me and Robyn Emlen at Elemental Ink in Denver. Robyn made a personal goal of hers to design this tattoo – she did a great job!! I showed my son last night how we are both a little different… he hugged me so hard he almost broke me in half and said “I will never forget this daddy”.
My name is Nicole and I am a 21yo nursing student. My thought was, you’d never lose a tattoo, unlike a bracelet or necklace, there is no breeding ground for bacteria, and in case of an “upset patient”, you wouldn’t get it ripped off, or get caught on machinery. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999. I just wanted to show my tattoo others, and inform them that medical identification tats are becoming more common. Don’t just look for a bracelet anymore!
I just turned 18 and have had type 1 diabetes almost 10 years now. I am headed off to college soon and instead of having to wear a medical id bracelet all the time I wanted to get a tattoo. Not only will this be helpful in an emergency situation it also is a constant reminder to be checking blood sugars often and keeping things under control. I also think the Caduceus is a very beautiful symbol.
My name is Pam and I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2006, by an absolute fluke since I saw a different doctor than I usually did when I was sick with the flu. He just looked at me and said “You’re diabetic, do you know that?” He proved it then by checking my blood sugar with a finger stick and then a battery of blood tests followed. Type 2 runs in my family as my mother has it and so did my grandfather. I was inspired to get my next tattoo after visiting this website and thinking this is a great idea, since I have to clear a metal detector at work. My tattoo became a reality after I was recently was put on insulin.
Love your website, and wanted to share mine that I just got today! Thank you
My daughter begged for years since she saw a couple of kids at camp with them. I grew up looking upon tattoos negatively. I know that they are becoming more and more popular, but I was still very skeptical. I worry that jobs, scholarships, etc. might be limited because of it. But I have to say, especially with the positive response that we have received, and the recent stories that I have read, I wish I had allowed this years ago.
This is my first ever tattoo, done by Big Deal Tattoos in La Guerche de Bretagne. I’m a type II diabetic on Eucreas and Glimépiride, I was showing my sons the tattoo’s on your site and they offered to pay for me to have one. The owner of the shop had never done a medical-related tattoo so was keen to do it and add it to his portfolio so he did the tattoo at a very good price. I didn’t realize how much it would hurt. I think it was a large tattoo for my first. The bottom of the dagger on my wrist was painful and most of the right-hand side, the left side though was OK. If I had known how much it would hurt I don’t think I would have done it, but now I’m glad I did. I really like it. I think I’m going to get him to put some red on the word diabetic, I think that needs to stand out a little more. I decided to go with the English spelling I felt “diabétique” was a little much. Paul
My son Peyton was just diagnosed as pre-diabetic on January 5 of 2010, three weeks before his 4th birthday. The specialist says his pancreas is failing and there is nothing we can do to stop it. I feel so helpless for my son so I support diabetes research with my newest tattoo of the ribbon butterfly
Two weeks ago. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I already had several plus tattoos prior to being diagnosed with type two diabetes. I was pleasantly surprised when doctor said I could still get tattoo. When my mom was giving birth to one of my siblings. She had to have a blood transfusion to save her life. My dad was a blood donor. One of his donation saved a little girl. I followed in my dad steps of being a blood donor. I got the attached tattoo for 3 reasons. Parents are deceased. Tattoo reminds they are with me, because part of their blood is in me, remind to continue to donate blood and platelets, and encourage others to donate blood
I was diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic in October 2003. I controlled it with diet and exercise until January 2011. I decided to get a tattoo because I didn’t like the medical alert jewelry and wanted something permanent. I got the tattoo 11/3/2011.
Rob had this tattoo done in July of 2010
I became diabetic at the age of 9. Have had it 20 years now. One of the rare times I ever wore my chain, it saved my life. Cops were called in because I was reported drunk. When they arrived on scene I was unconscious and luckily they found my necklace and called the paramedics. Even since then, I still hate to wear it, I actually don’t even know where it is. The EMT recommended a tattoo, and after several years I have finally gotten one. The lettering is bold and ugly, but I wanted it to be clearly legible and visible. It’s more than just an art piece. Robin M
My name is Robin and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1987 at the age of 11. This is my way of bringing awareness of diabetes to others. I got it yesterday and it is my very first tattoo!
I just got this tattoo today. I love the bold font, and how it manages to be both legible and interesting-looking. I’ve been a type 1 since October of 2011. I’m not a bracelet person, so this is perfect for me!
I got this tattoo after a few of my friends had gotten advocacy tattoos, and I considered it for 2 years before passing out at work. It made me realize the importance of always having a medical ID.
I’ve had diabetes for about 16 years. I’ve gone through countless bracelets, anklets, and necklaces throughout the years and I’m just not one to keep up with jewelry well. Medical IDs are expensive and it was costing a lot for me to continue to wear one, so for $40 and about an hour of my time, I got permanently marked. Not like its never going to go away! And now that my 3 year old son has diabetes, he sees and understands what “mommy’s mark” is and feels included since it matches what’s on his necklace. Now he knows he’s not the only one that’s different.
I work in the school system and needed something that will get everyone’s attention should something happen. I have lost and broken more bracelets then anyone should. The blue ring is my twist on the universal symbol for diabetes, I wanted something more real then a flat circle as this disease is oh too real in my life. The dragonfly is for the changes that are coming my way, and just to pretty up this horrible word that now apart of my life. This is my medical alert. Pretty yet elegant.
Stillborn child of Mindy King and Ryan Spenser due to Mindy’s diabetes
A reminder of his time in the hospital.
For Stephanie’s Mom
I lost my mom due to complications of diabetes on December of 2008. I hope they continue to search for a cure…..Stephanie V
Submitted by Stephanie
Submitted by Stephanie
This is my tattoo that I got in July of 08. I am 19 and I was diagnosed when I was 16 months old. I have pretty tight control and am still very active, I am a college football player and I don’t let diabetes interfere with the sport I love. I got the tattoo so that in the case of emergency paramedics could see that I’m a diabetic and then take the appropriate action. Since I’ve had it I realize that not a lot of people know what diabetes is so the tattoo helps me to educate those around me about the disease.
This is my new art work – the heart represents my precious family – I love how the awareness ribbon has been incorporated into the heart. My son Michael was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of four. It is nearly 13 years since Type 1 Diabetes arrived, uninvited, in our family bringing with it the ups, downs and struggles that are part of Type 1. Thankfully it also brought new friends who share the same journey. We are grateful for the technology available today to make managing Type 1 easier but still hope and pray that a cure is not far away.
I’m from Brazil. I am a type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed when I was 9 years old and now I’m 25 years old. I did the tattoo at the suggestion of my parents. They saw the idea on tv and I also liked the idea. To be a little different from the ordinary, I decided to make the blue symbol of diabetes, with details in watercolor.
Vinícius J. R
I had to put candy worms and a sucker in it.
Wrist medical tattoo
My name is Zach F. I’ve had Diabetes since I was 6. I am now 18. I got this tattoo when I was 16 because I played sports and was not allowed to wear any medical alert bands so I figured no one could tell me to take this off haha. It definitely helped with sports and now I feel safer if anything complications ever happen in the future.
For Zakk and Bella
I have been a type 1 diabetic for 20 years. After a near-death experience at work (that would have been on the expressway if it happened one hour later) there was no reason NOT to do this! I don’t wear my medic alert bracelet at work.
If you are considering getting a tattoo of your own and have diabetes, check out our article on things you should consider before you proceed.
Out of respect for people’s privacy, only first names have been used. All of those involved in this project have provided Diabetes Advocacy with written consent to use their stories. No names or stories can be borrowed or used without the express written consent of Diabetes Advocacy and those parties involved. Diabetes Advocacy does NOT sell names, mailing lists or other information regarding those who share their information with us.