First, I would like to preface this article with one very important statement:
I am not a doctor.
While I’m sure that is a no-brainer, as it is probably pretty clear I’m just a writer with an adoration for tattoos, I thought it best to just throw it out there and get it out of the way.
So, again, I want to state that I am not a doctor.
Now, moving on…
When it comes to the subculture of the tattooed world, there is one thing that can be said for sure—it is a diverse and exciting culture. It is a world filled with a varied assortment of people from every walk of life, every age, race, and sexual orientation has joined the tattooed culture over the years. So, it should come as no surprise that there are people with certain medical afflictions who have also joined the movement. Diabetics are no exception.
Of course, with any serious medical condition, there are certain rules that have to be played by, followed to a tee, to avoid further complications. When it comes to getting a tattoo, there are a few extra precautions that need to be taken before going under the needle.
For those with diabetes, planning out the time to get a tattoo involves an extra step. Certain factors have to be completely under control before the process can occur. The first of these is sugar levels. When it comes to the healing process, a high sugar level can complicate matters, slowing the healing time frame and even increase the risk of infection substantially. For these reasons, it is vital that these levels be maintained. Blood pressure is another factor that should be monitored carefully. Of course, blood pressure, and even sugar levels, can and may increase during the actual procedure, but they should flatten back out within a few hours. As long as they are kept under close watch, all should be fine.
Many diabetics have exceptionally poor blood circulation in addition to fluctuating insulin levels. This factor should be considered when deciding on placement of the actual tattoo. Poor circulation generally causes healing times to expand and can lead to other complications such as infections and even amputation. For this reason, tattoos in certain areas are best to be avoided. These areas include the feet, ankles, shins, buttocks, and common insulin injection sites (such as arms, abdomen, and thighs—although these can vary by person).
Another aspect to consider when deciding to head off to the tattoo parlor is the length of time a tattoo can actually take. Of course, the length of time you’ll be undergoing the tattoo process varies by design, size, and placement, but consider that even a smaller tattoo can take up to 45 minutes to an hour with all of the steps included. Complicated or larger designs can take several hours, if not more. For an individual with diabetes, sitting in a chair for an extended period of time can put them at risk for hypoglycemia, among other issues, so it is important that they come prepared.
Regardless of how well-managed your diabetes is it is important that you consult your physician before scheduling your tattoo. Only you and your doctor can ultimately decide whether getting inked is the right thing for you, or if perhaps the risks are a little too high. Each and every person is different, as is each and every person’s medical condition, and there is no cookie cutter rule for those with medical complications when it comes to permanently inking art upon their bodies. While tattoos are a thing of beauty, nothing is worth putting your body at risk, so it is crucial that you consider all of the factors—and discuss them with your doctor—before heading out to join the tattoo subculture.
And, just a friendly reminder, I am a writer, not a doctor. Make sure that you discuss these matters with a licensed physician who is familiar with your particular case and do not simply rely on snippets you find on the internet! Happy inking!