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Frequently Asked Questions

Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of glucose (also called sugar) in the body. This sugar in the is the body’s main source of energy.

When you eat, your body turns food into sugars, or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin, which lowers glucose. Insulin’s job is to open your cells so the glucose can enter them, allowing your body to use the glucose for energy. But with diabetes, this system does not work. The body’s inability to produce sufficient quantities, or to properly use, insulin results in diabetes.

Controlling sugar (glucose) levels is the main goal of diabetes treatments. Insulin, exercise, and diet modification are the primary treatment options. Oral medications can also be prescribed, but when these measures fail to control elevated sugars, then treatment with insulin is begun.

Checking your glucose level regularly is essential for managing diabetes. Knowing what dose of insulin to take is complicated, because the amount is based on factors that fluctuate every day, depending on food, exercise, stress, emotions, and general health. That is why a glucose meter or glucose test strips are important for frequent, accurate glucose monitoring.

Glucose (sugar) monitoring is the main tool you have to check on your diabetes control. This test tells you your glucose level at any one time. Keeping a log of your results is also vital, because it gives your healthcare provider a good picture of your body’s response to your diabetes care plan.

When caught early, diabetes can be effectively managed. But when left untreated or uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to serious complications. These include heart disease and stroke, kidney damage, blindness and eye problems, and nerve damage.

  • How often should I test my sugar, and what should I do if it is too high or too low?
  • Are there any new medications I could use to help manage my diabetes?
  • Does diabetes mean I have to stop eating the foods I like best?
  • How can exercise make a difference in my diabetes?
  • If I’m overweight, how many pounds do I have to lose to make a difference in my health?
  • Do I need to take my medications even on days when I feel fine?
  • Is there a cure for diabetes?
  • Medically speaking, there is no cure for diabetes, but it can go into remission. Diabetes in remission simply means the body does not show any signs of diabetes. However, the disease is technically still there.

Diabetes can harm your nerves, and that damage (called neuropathy) often starts with the legs and feet. Symptoms include tingling numbness, burning, and pain. Early symptoms usually get better when your sugar is under control, so paying attention to your feet is an important way to tell how your care plan is working.

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that damages the small vessels in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. At first, this complication of diabetes may cause no symptoms, or only mild vision problems like blurred vision. If vision problems don’t go away when glucose levels are close to normal, you might have retinopathy, which can cause blindness.

www.diabetes.org > American Diabetes Association

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