Should you get a tattoo if you are diabetic? If you have type 2 diabetes there is a risk of infection with open wounds. It’s still possible to get a tattoo, but you must take precautions.
You’ve been admiring all the people you see walking around with tattoos. Your friends have them. Their friends have them. Now you are thinking about getting one.
Does it mean that getting a tattoo is not for me because I have type 2 diabetes?
Someone with diabetes should be able to live just like any other person. Your lifestyle should not be hampered, but you will have to be more cautious. You will have to take an extra step or two to be safe.
DIABETES: RISK OF INFECTION
The bodies largest organ is your skin. It protects you from the outside world. There is always the risk of infection. Especially, with an open cut or sore. This is what happens when getting a tattoo.
A study published in 2012, reported an outbreak of skin infections from tattoos. The infection was linked to contaminated ink.
TATTOO: WHO CAN AND CAN’T GET ONE
The first step is to talk to your doctor. Tell him/her that you would like to get a tattoo. Your doctor will look to see how well your type 2 diabetes is controlled. At that point, he or she will let you know if you will heal quickly.
In addition, your healthcare provider will look at your A1c levels. Well controlled A1c would be levels of less than 7. Anything above that would put you at a greater risk for slower wound healing.
The longer it takes for you to heal, the more likely you could get an infection.
IS THERE A LIMIT TO WHERE I CAN GET A TATTOO?
Unfortunately, a level under 7 is not a hard and fast rule. Your doctor is better qualified to make the risk and safety assessment of getting a tattoo.
Also, talk to your healthcare provider about limitations on where you get a tattoo.
For instance, if you have circulation issues in your feet or lower legs. Your physician will suggest avoiding that area. Loss of sensation (neuropathy) you are less likely to feel a problem that arises.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP TO GET A TATTOO?
First, your doctor gave you the okay for a tattoo. You’ve been doing a great job at controlling your type 2 diabetes.
Second, is to be proactive to keep yourself healthy. Do your homework to find a reputable place to get your tattoo. A place that will use safe and sterile equipment.
Now, that the big day is here. Should you get a tattoo if you are a diabetic? I would say, heck yeah!
Make sure to tell the tattoo artist that you have diabetes. It’s important for them to take precautions for your condition.
While getting a tattoo is stressful on the body, depending on the person it could be positive or negative stress. Meaning you may have a high tolerance for pain or maybe you are really nervous about it.
That stress can raise your blood sugar during a tattoo. You may need to take a break to check your blood sugar and take a deep breath.
With that said, you don’t have to reveal anything…completely up to you.
Before you leave, ask about healing. Especially, if this is your first tattoo. You want to have an idea of what to expect as you heal.
So ask the tattoo parlor if scabbing is normal. As soon as it doesn’t look normal, contact your doctor.
Your goal is to prevent infection, so clean it well. The tattoo artist will give you instructions for cleaning to take home with you.
Should you get a tattoo if you are a diabetic? To summarize, see your healthcare provider prior to getting a tattoo.
Be sure your type 2 diabetes is well controlled.
You will need to follow the instructions that the tattoo parlor gives you for cleaning your new tattoo.
If something about your tattoo doesn’t look right, follow-up with your primary care doctor as soon as possible.
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