Diabetes Awareness: Learn and Share

Diabetes Awareness: Learn and Share

diabetes awareness facebook coverMost people have heard of diabetes, but many may not know exactly what it is, or what it means to live with the disease. In fact, one in four people who have diabetes don’t even know they do.

During the month of November, health, research and advocacy organizations raise awareness about diabetes and the people it affects.

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and a new person is diagnosed every 17 seconds. With nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population affected, there is still so much that is misunderstood about the disease.

There are two forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, both of which involve insulin, a hormone that helps carry sugar into the body’s cells to create energy. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the glands that make insulin so that the body stops making or doesn’t make enough insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but becomes resistant to it, so sugar builds up in the bloodstream. Contrary to misconception, diabetes is not caused by eating sugar. Currently there is no cure for either type, and left unmanaged, there is a risk for dangerous complications such as vision loss and kidney failure.

Diabetes management is a continuous process. People who live with diabetes constantly monitor their blood sugar and insulin intake levels to manually maintain hormone and protein levels. However, in some cases, extreme low or high blood sugar levels can cause a diabetic coma. In this medical emergency, it is important that first responders know the person has diabetes. Medical IDs with the person’s name and condition quickly alert paramedics and allow for accurate, life-saving treatment.

Since 2007, American Medical ID has worked with the American Diabetes Association to spread the word about how important it is for people with diabetes to wear medical IDs. The American Diabetes Association is the nation’s leading nonprofit fighting for people affected by the disease.

You can get involved throughout November by participating in the American Diabetes Association’s America Gets Cooking campaign focusing on healthy eating and diabetes. Get your personal network involved by downloading our custom Facebook cover photo and profile picture.

Cover Photo

diabetes awareness facebook coverProfile Picture

diabetes awareness facebook profile

Plus, learn more about diabetes in America with this infographic from the Centers for Disease Control.

Diabetes in America

Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Diabetes Association

Spooky Halloween Diabetes Myth Debunked

Halloween Candy

When it comes to Halloween and diabetes, the scariest thing is not the haunted house down the street or the creepy costumes the neighbors wear. It’s the idea that eating sweets causes diabetes and that people with diabetes can’t eat sweets!

Contrary to this myth, neither type 1 nor type 2 diabetes is caused by eating sweets. Although not everything is known about diabetes, research has shown that a person’s genes are one indicator of the disease.

Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes do include lifestyle factors like weight gain, but there’s no reason to believe simply eating sugar will result in diabetes.

Ok, so maybe eating sugar doesn’t cause diabetes, but people with the disease still shouldn’t eat sweets, right?

Wrong again! You may have heard this before, but the same moderation that nutritionists recommend for everyone is also suggested for people with diabetes. A healthy mix of lean protein, fruits and vegetables and starches is the rule for all.

A little moderation goes a long way, especially with Halloween treats. But that doesn’t mean the trick-or-treating is off. Here are 5 Tips for Trick or Treating with Diabetes:

  1. Choose hard candies to pass out so that leftovers can be used throughout the year to treat lows.
  2. Pick fun-sized versions of your favorite treats.
  3. Make a plan for which treats to enjoy throughout the week.
  4. Donate leftover candy to a senior center or hospital.
  5. Forgo edible treats and opt for trinkets or toys.

Sources: American Diabetes Association, Diabetic Care Services

Favorite Halloween Treats from Food Allergy Bloggers

Halloween can be scary if you have a child with food allergies or dietary restrictions. But it doesn’t have to be.

Between trick-or-treating and Halloween parties, there are plenty of opportunities to eat sweet treats. Here are just a few examples of how some yummy foods can be made with allergies and dietary restrictions in mind. Plus, there are always non-food treats. The Teal Pumpkin Project from Food Allergy Research and Education is a campaign to get houses food allergy friendly by handing out non-food items instead of candy.

But, if you can’t help your sweet tooth, take a look at these recipes:

Vegan Caramels
from Fork and Beans

vegan caramels

Paleo Tootsie Rolls
from Brittany Angell

Homemade Lollipops
from Snappy Living

Pumpkin Seed Brittle
from Martha Stewart

Paleo Pumpkin Butter Cups
from Civilized Caveman Cooking

Homemade Candy Corn
from Five Little Homesteaders

Pumpkin Fudge
from Petite Allergy Treats

Bonus: 10 Commercial candies that are nut free!

Always check the packaging, as product change, but these are generally allergy-friendly.

  1. Dots
  2. Jolly Ranchers
  3. Laffy Taffy
  4. Lifesavers
  5. Nerds
  6. Skittles
  7. Smarties
  8. Sour Patch Kids
  9. Starbursts
  10. Tootsie Rolls

Bullying and Medical IDs


Bullying may seem like a bit of a buzzword these days, but it is a serious issue among children in the United States.

In fact, in 2002, the American Medical Association declared that bullying was a “complex and abusive behavior with potentially serious social and mental health consequences for children and adolescents.”

According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, both victims and perpetrators of bullying may struggle with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.


What is bullying?

It’s much more than simple cases of kids being mean to each other. It consists of aggression over time that produces an imbalance of power. Simply put, calling someone a name once may be mean, but it’s not necessarily bullying. Call someone a name every day relentlessly over a series of days, weeks, months so that the person feels less about himself is definitely bullying.

The three types of bullying involve using words, reputations or physical contact to hurt someone emotionally or physically.

Verbal includes:

  • Teasing
  • Taunting
  • Threatening to cause harm

Social includes:

  • Excluding or ostracizing someone
  • Spreading rumors about someone
  • Embarrassing someone in public

Physical includes:

  • Hitting/kicking or tripping/pushing
  • Spitting
  • Taking or breaking someone’s things


Who is Bullied?

Since bullying is as much about the bully as it is the person receiving the bullying, there’s no way to predict who will be affected. However, since it is also about power, victims are usually perceived as being different or weaker than their peers. They may have low self-esteem and be less popular than other, or perhaps they do not get along well with classmates. Victims may have some physical difference that sets them apart such as weight or race, glasses or different clothing.

Children who have chronic medical conditions that warrant the use of a medical ID may also stand out as potential victims of bullying, both because of their medical conditions and because they wear an ID. Don’t let the potential for bullying become a deterrent for wearing and ID. The U.S. government’s anti-bullying website Stop Bullying.gov states “even if a child has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean they will be bullied.”

The nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education cites that about 30 percent of kids with food allergies report they have been bullied specifically because of their allergies. The organization has coordinated an anti-bullying campaign, “It’s Not a Joke,” to highlight the seriousness of food allergies, and the harm that is caused by being bullied.


Bullying Prevention Month

Established in 2006 by the PACER’s National Center for Bullying Prevention, National Bullying Prevention Month occurs each October to raise awareness about the impact of bullying on our children. The organization coordinates community efforts nationwide.








It’s That Flu-Shot Time of Year

By Leslie Vandever

flu shot

School has started, temperatures are cooling down, and summer is over, nothing but a warm memory. It’s hard to believe, but flu season is rapidly approaching.

The flu virus is around throughout the year, but when temperatures are warm it’s sluggish and slow, unable to replicate quickly or easily. As the seasons turn to autumn and winter, the air becomes colder and the humidity levels lower. Cooler air energizes and activates the flu virus. By early to mid-winter—the height of the flu season—it’s thriving.

When the weather is cold, most people stay indoors. They don’t get lot of fresh air and exercise during the winter, which increases their vulnerability to wayward cold and flu viruses. And, since people spend more time in close proximity to others, the virus spreads easily from one person to the next.

In the U.S., flu season generally runs from December to February, but it can start as early as October and last as late as May. Distribution of the 2014-2015 Flu Vaccine began in August and will continue through October.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone, from the age of six months old, should get an annual flu shot. Here’s why: influenza is a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or even death. Anyone can catch it—even the healthiest people among us can—and can become very sick. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer people there are who can get it and spread the disease. About 90 percent of the deaths from influenza occur in people who are 65 years old or older.

Flu complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections, account for most of the serious flu-related illness each season. And the flu can make chronic health problems worse, too. Someone with asthma or congestive heart failure may have more attacks or worse symptoms triggered by the flu.

Some people are at greater risk from the flu than others. These include:

  • small children
  • people older than 50
  • people with compromised immune systems or those who are immunosuppressed
  • people with diabetes mellitus
  • people with chronic pulmonary disease (including asthma)
  • people with cardiovascular disease (except hypertension)
  • people with renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders
  • people who are morbidly obese
  • health care personnel
  • caregivers for children or the elderly

It takes the body two weeks to gain protection from the viruses in the flu vaccine. During those two weeks you’re still vulnerable to the particular viruses in the vaccine. Also, your annual flu shot can’t protect you from all types of flu virus, just the specific ones that are in it.

You can’t get the flu from a flu shot. Most flu vaccines have “inactivated” viruses in them that are not infective; some don’t have flu viruses in them at all. After receiving the vaccine, some people experience soreness at the injection site that can last a couple of days.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and perhaps vomiting and diarrhea, though those symptoms are more common in children than adults.

Talk to your health care provider about getting a flu vaccine or check with your local county health department for reduced-price vaccination schedules. Better safe than sorry. For more information about this or other health subjects, visit Healthline.

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in the foothills of Northern California.

Teaming Up for Alzheimer’s Awareness

Alzheimer's jewelry

We’ve announced a collaborative agreement with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and the importance of wearing medical IDs for people with these brain disorders.

We will donate 20 percent of retail sales generated by AFA to the foundation to support its efforts to provide care for individuals with dementia and their families. The ID bracelets and necklaces can be purchased via AFA’s e-store (www.alzfdn.org) or American Medical ID’s website.

A medical ID engraved with the person’s name, an emergency contact, and medical conditions provides valuable information to emergency responders. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses, such a tool can be a vital means of identification since research shows that 60 percent of people with dementia become lost at some point during the progression of the disease. Symptoms such as memory loss and confusion put them in harm’s way if not found quickly and returned to safety.

“Our vision is to see an emergency ID on every person who needs one, which means we often educate about the importance of wearing an ID,” said Rick Russell, our president and CEO. “For people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia who may not be able to communicate during an emergency, a medical ID is critical.”

Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president and CEO, called wandering and becoming lost “a real risk” among people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

“Families need to be proactive and take steps to safeguard their loved ones so they are not exposed to potentially life-threatening situations,” Fuschillo said. “Should a person become lost, identification jewelry is essential in helping to ensure he or she realizes a happy and safe homecoming.”

Among the product selection are IDs with clasps that require two hands to remove, making it more difficult for people to remove; and jewelry with charms in teal—the international color of Alzheimer’s disease.

An estimated 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and between one and four family members provide care for the individual with the disease.

“We recognize that with the rising incidence of this brain disorder, social services and advocacy programs like those offered by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America are vital,” Russell said.

About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,700 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, staffed by licensed clinical social workers; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training, along with teen- and college student-specific divisions. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Breast Cancer Awareness

In 1985, the breast cancer awareness campaign was one week long and backed by just two organizations.

Almost 30 years later, it has grown into an international awareness program that spans the entire month of October, and joins together hundreds of organizations dedicated to fighting breast cancer.

As the leading cancer among women globally, one in eight American women will develop breast cancer. There are almost 3 million women in the U.S. who have or had breast cancer. But it’s not just a woman’s disease. Each year, about 2,190 men are diagnosed with the disease.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, nonprofit organizations host a variety of events to garner financial and volunteer support. Much of the emphasis is on early detection, because diagnosing early can lead to a five-year survival rate of 98 percent.

Most organizations recommend regular self-checks as well as preventative doctor screenings including mammograms.

Women who have or have had breast cancer may be at risk for arm or leg swelling caused by lymphedema. Wearing a medical ID engraved with Lymphedema Alert – No BP/No Needle Sticks informs emergency medical personnel of the risk and can help provide safer, more accurate treatment.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) is one Texas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness about the disease. Founded in 1991 by breast cancer survivor Janelle Hail, the organization spends more than 80 percent of revenue on mission-related programs. With early detection so critical for breast cancer, one of the NBCF’s programs is to offer free mammograms to women in all 50 states through a hospital network.

NBCF also recognizes the value of having a community of support for those diagnosed with the disease. Their website Beyond the Shock features breast cancer facts, personal stories of survivors, and a question and answer forum.

Sources: American Cancer Society, National Breast Cancer Foundation

What is ALS?

By Leslie Vandever


Since August, more than 3 million Americans and other people from all over the world have dumped buckets of ice-water over their heads on social media to help raise funds to fight the devastating motor neuron disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

Participants in the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge have included children, adults from all walks of life, Hollywood stars, and prominent politicians.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. It affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord that affect voluntary movement by disrupting and eventually destroying the motor neurons that send signals to muscles throughout the body. As the motor neurons die, the brain’s ability to initiate and control voluntary movement is lost.

More than 12,000 people in the United States have ALS; it’s one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide and affects people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. It’s more common among non-Hispanics, white males, and people between the ages of 60 and 70, but people who are older or younger than that can get it too. Men seems to get ALS more frequently than women. Most cases of ALS—90-95 percent—occur apparently at random with no clearly associated risk factors. Five to 10 percent of cases to seem to be hereditary.

Early symptoms of ALS can be subtle. They frequently show up first in the hands, feet, arms, or legs, then spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms may include:

  • muscle cramps, twitching, and weakness in the arms, shoulders, and tongue
  • weakness or clumsiness in the hands
  • trouble swallowing
  • slurred speech
  • weakness in the legs, feet, or ankles
  • difficulty with or tripping while walking
  • difficulty in doing normal daily chores
  • difficulty keeping the head upright and posture straight

As the disease progresses, the body’s muscles become weaker and weaker. In time, ALS affects speaking, chewing, swallowing, and even breathing. In the later stages of the disease, ALS may cause total paralysis.

Although ALS is always fatal at this point, there is hope. Scientific medical research has produced treatments that can slow the progression of the disease and improve some symptoms. Riluzole is the first drug approved by the FDA for use in treating ALS. It can’t reverse damage already done to motor neurons by the disease, but it does reduce new damage. Studies have shown that it can prolong survival for several months, and some patients survived longer without needing ventilation support.

Non-drug therapy is also an important way to treat ALS. It includes:

  • physical and occupational therapy
  • massage
  • relaxation techniques
  • nutrition
  • speech therapy
  • distraction
  • psychotherapy

Caring for an ALS patient can be difficult and challenging. But there are many ways to soothe and relieve some of the disease’s symptoms and help improve the patient’s quality of life. They include (among many others) encouraging the patient to eat, giving medications on schedule, massaging cramped and painful muscles, ensuring regular doctor visits, controlling the stress levels in the home, and providing pleasant distraction from symptoms.

For more information about ALS and other health-related subjects, click here.

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in the foothills of Northern California.

NEW Product: Tungsten Revolution Pendant

revolution pendants


You’re sure to turn heads with the new Revolution Pendant.




The round pendant crafted in scratch-resistant tungsten carbide is brilliantly beveled to reflect light, illuminating the contours of its unique design.

The rotating bail allows the pendant to spin a full 360° atop a decorative bead detail. The highly-polished jewelry finish comes in three distinct colors Silver Tungsten, Onyx, and Rose Gold. A strong, but lightweight titanium cable chain is available in 20” and 24” lengths.


Tungsten Revolution


Onyx Revolution


Rose Gold Revolution






The medical emblem is laser engraved providing a subtle, yet easy to recognize medical alert symbol. The back of the pendant offers a full six lines for personalized engraving of medical conditions, allergies, emergency contacts or more.

Gaucher Disease Awareness Month

Gaucher awarenessEach October, the National Gaucher Foundation hosts Gaucher Awareness Month to shed light on the importance of early detection and education about this rare disease.


What is Gaucher disease?

Named after French doctor Philippe Gaucher, who first described the symptoms in 1882, Gaucher disease is a lysosomal storage disorder. That means the body is deficient in a certain type of enzyme. It is an inherited disease that is carried by as many as 1 in 200 of the general population.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Symptoms of the disease include bleeding and bone problems such as anemia, bruising easily, nosebleeds, osteoporosis, easily broken bones, and swollen belly due to enlarged liver and spleen.

How can I help?

Although Gaucher is a rare disease, the foundation recognizes that many more people may be carriers of the gene than affected by the illness. Because it is passed down to children, it’s important that potential carriers are informed about the disease.

Since much of the education about the disease involves the community, the National Gaucher Foundation has set up a month long virtual event on their website. Visitors to the site can play games, watch videos, view photos, read the new Gaucher comic book, and more.

New to their website is the first patient-centered national registry of Gaucher disease. Families can submit their personal experiences for a more realistic record of how different people are affected by the disease.

If you’re looking to get involved, consider speaking to your community about the disease, sharing your story of how you or your family were affected, or making a donation to the foundation, There is also a list of other ideas for promoting awareness of Gaucher during October.