Would sickle cell trait influence the metabolic control in sub-Saharan individuals with type 2 diabetes?

Diabet Med. 2012 Sep;29(9):e334-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2012.03620.x.


Aims: To determine the prevalence and effects of sickle cell trait on metabolic control in a Cameroonian diabetic population in a tertiary care setup.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving 73 consecutive outpatients with Type 2 diabetes recruited from the Yaounde National Diabetes and Obesity Centre. Sickle cell trait status was based on haemoglobin electrophoresis. Metabolic control was assessed by plasma glucose and HbA(1c), and comparisons made between participants with and without sickle cell trait, with adjustment for confounders through linear regressions models.

Results: The prevalence of sickle cell trait was 19%, without sex difference, and comparable with figures in individuals without diabetes in this setting. Participants with diabetes and sickle cell trait were older than the non-trait participants (66 vs. 58 years, P = 0.02). Otherwise, clinical and biological profile including indicators of metabolic control were similarly distributed between trait and non-trait participants (all P >0.08). After adjustment for confounders, sickle cell trait was unrelated to fasting glucose (β = 0.02; 95% confidence interval -37.68-43.30) and HbA(1c) (β = -0.03, 95% confidence interval -1.18-0.93), and did not affect the relationship between the two markers of diabetes control (β = -0.03, 95% confidence interval -1.18-0.89).

Conclusions: Sickle cell trait was as frequent in this subgroup of patients with Type 2 diabetes as in the general population, suggesting no specific association with diabetes. It does not affect the metabolic control of diabetes. However, how this translates into long-term outcome needs to be fully elucidated in this setting, with an increasing population with both sickle cell trait and diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cameroon / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sickle Cell Trait / epidemiology*
  • Sickle Cell Trait / ethnology
  • Sickle Cell Trait / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A