Abstract

Reduced levels of cholesterol was first reported in African children with sickle cell disease (SCD).More recently similar findings were reported in African American adults with SCD in the United States. Epidemiologic studies have identified a relation between low serum levels of total cholesterol (<130 mg/dL) and increased mortality from all causes. We wanted to study the cholesterol levels in adults with SCD especially as their average life expectancy is continuing to increase with advances in medical care.We conducted a retrospective study comparing the serum lipid profile with 15 adults with SCD seen at our hospital with 15 age matched controls who did not have SCD or hyperlipidemia. The mean age in the SCD group was 48±13 years and the mean age in the control group was 46±5years (P=0.73). The mean total cholesterol level in adults with SCD was 135±26 mg/dL and was significantly lower than the mean total cholesterol level in age matched controls which was 169±30 mg/dL (P=0.001). LDL levels were significantly lower in those with SCD compared to controls (67±16 mg/dL versus 90±29mg/dL, respectively, P=0.01). Adults with SCD also had lower HDL levels (45±15 mg/dL) compared with their controls (60±11 mg/dL, P=0.004). There was no difference in the mean triglyceride levels between the two groups. While there was no difference in the mean height between the two groups the SCD group had lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than the control group (23± 4mg/dL versus 27±4mg/dL, respectively, P=0.02). Our results suggest that adults with sickle cell disease have lower serum total cholesterol, LDL, HDL levels as well as lower BMI compared to their age matched controls. Larger studies to validate our observations and to study its clinical implications are warranted.

Lipid profile and Body Mass Index in Sickle Cell Disease and Controls

Sickle Cell*Control*
Mean(SD)Mean(SD)Pvalue
*n=15 
Age(years) 48±13 46±5 0.73 
Total Cholsterol (mg/dL) 135±26 169±30 0.001 
LDL(mg/dL) 67±16 90±29 0.01 
HDL(mg/dL) 45±15 60±11 0.004 
Triglycerides(mg/dL) 113±51 94±47 0.3 
Height(cm) 167±7 167±6 0.7 
Weight(lbs) 141±27 178±35 0.007 
Body Mass Index 23±4 27±4 0.02 
Sickle Cell*Control*
Mean(SD)Mean(SD)Pvalue
*n=15 
Age(years) 48±13 46±5 0.73 
Total Cholsterol (mg/dL) 135±26 169±30 0.001 
LDL(mg/dL) 67±16 90±29 0.01 
HDL(mg/dL) 45±15 60±11 0.004 
Triglycerides(mg/dL) 113±51 94±47 0.3 
Height(cm) 167±7 167±6 0.7 
Weight(lbs) 141±27 178±35 0.007 
Body Mass Index 23±4 27±4 0.02 

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