Does Sickle Cell Disease Protect Against Diabetes Mellitus? : Cross-sectional study

Ali A. Mohamed, Fathia Al-Qurashi, David L. Whitford


Objectives: The co-existence of diabetes mellitus (DM) and sickle cell disease (SCD) is rare. This study aimed to explore whether SCD patients have the same DM prevalence as the general population in a country with a high prevalence of DM. Methods: This cross-sectional study included all SCD adult patients admitted to Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain, between 2003 and 2010 (n = 2,204). A random sample (n = 520) was taken to establish the prevalence of DM. Laboratory records were examined to determine the presence of DM. Results: There were 376 SCD patients with complete records; of these, 24 (6.4%) had DM. The age- and sex-standardised prevalence of DM was 8.3%. Conclusion: While the prevalence of DM in SCD patients in Bahrain was high, it was lower than expected in this population. SCD may have a protective effect towards DM development. However, the impact of these two conditions on vascular diseases suggest a need for screening and aggressive treatment in this population.


Diabetes Mellitus; Sickle Cell Disease; Prevalence; Epidemiology; Comorbidity; Vascular Diseases; Bahrain.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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