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Diabetes – Overview
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which blood glucose (sugar) is too high. The blood always has some glucose in it because the body needs glucose for energy. Glucose comes from the food we eat. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin that helps glucose get from the blood into body cells where it is converted into energy.

In diabetes the pancreas makes little or no insulin or body cells cannot use insulin very well. Glucose therefore cannot get into the cells and builds up in the blood. If blood glucose stays too high it can damage different parts of the body such as the heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves over time. This damage leads to life-threatening health complications.

Prevalence in Kenya

  • The estimated diabetes prevalence in Kenya ranges between 2.7% (rural) and 10.7% (urban).
  • The prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance is 8.8% (rural) and 14.4% (urban).
    • The real numbers of people living with diabetes is unknown: data for most of the regions is not available.

In 2003, non-communicable diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases and cancer) contributed 53% of hospital admissions in Kenya. Diabetes accounted for 27% of these hospital admissions.