Should I Wear a Medical Alert Bracelet for MG?
Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a condition in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in places where the nerves connect to the muscles. Symptoms of MG can change on a daily basis and can worsen with stress or infection. In general, the symptoms and complications of MG can be managed with proper treatment.1,2
But MG also can affect your health suddenly. People with MG can experience what is known as a myasthenic crisis. A myasthenic crisis is a serious complication of MG and a medical emergency. Symptoms can be so severe that they lead to trouble with talking, walking, or breathing.1-3
During a myasthenic crisis, extreme weakness occurs in the muscles that support breathing. These symptoms sometimes can be mistaken for being drunk. Also, some drugs can change the way your MG drugs work and can cause you to have breathing problems. If first responders are unaware of your condition and mistake your symptoms for another issue, there may be a life-threatening delay in treatment.1-3
If you have MG, it is best to wear a medical alert ID or to carry a wallet card. These can instruct others how to help you in the event of an emergency.1
What is medical alert jewelry?
A medical alert ID can come in the form of a bracelet, necklace, or shoe tag. Your critical medical information is engraved on the ID to help first responders in emergency situations. Medical alert IDs should include:4
- Your medical history and health conditions, including your MG diagnosis
- Drugs you currently take
- Any other details you want first responders to see right away
Medical alert jewelry is available through several organizations, and there are many types and sizes to choose from. Most medical alert jewelry allows for up to 6 lines of text for you to customize.5
What other options do I have?
If you do not want to wear medical alert jewelry, it is still important to have a way to inform others that you have MG. If you are traveling alone or unable to speak, first responders may not know how to treat you. Other options to let others know of your MG diagnosis include:4,5
- Printable wallet cards
- Smart medical ID for your smartphone
- Medical alert engraving options for smartwatch wristbands
- Seatbelt ID holders
Printable wallet cards can be found online. The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America provides an emergency alert card as a free download on its website. This card gives valuable information to first responders, including how to manage people who are having difficulty with swallowing and breathing. It also lists drugs that should be used with caution in people with MG.3
Conquer Myasthenia Gravis also has a printable wallet card template. Emergency contact information and doctor’s contact information can be added to the form before you print it. It also includes a section to list the current drugs you are taking and any other medical conditions you have.5
Smart phones have apps that can allow you to create smart medical IDs. In an emergency, the information in your smart medical ID can be accessed from your phone’s lock screen without a passcode. This allows first responders and medical personnel to see critical medical information such as your MG diagnosis, current medicines you are taking, allergies, and emergency contacts.4
Staying prepared for a myasthenic crisis
A myasthenic crisis can come on quickly, so it is important for people with MG to be prepared for a medical emergency. Staying prepared and letting others know that you have MG can help you get life-saving care more quickly. Using medical alert jewelry or a wallet card will help first responders and doctors know how to treat you best.1,2
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