The influence of socioeconomic status on the hemoglobin level and anthropometry of sickle cell anemia patients in steady state at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital
Keywords: Hemoglobin level, sickle cell anemia, socioeconomic class
AbstractBackground: Sickle cell anemia (SCA) has multisystemic manifestations and is associated with severe morbidity and high mortality. It commonly affects growth leading to wasting and stunting.
Aims and Objectives: This study aimed to determine the influence of socioeconomic status on the nutritional status using anthropometric measurements and steady-state hemoglobin, of children with homozygous SCA, aged 1 year to 10 years in steady state at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study involving 100 children with SCA and 100 age-, sex-, and social class-matched controls that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Social class was assessed using educational attainment and occupation of parents. Hemoglobin concentration was determined using the oxy-hemoglobin method.
Results: This study demonstrated a significantly lower mean weight and weight-for-height in the SCA patients than those of controls (P < 0.001). By contrast, this study did not demonstrate any statistical significant difference in the mean height and mean body mass index of SCA patients and controls (P = 0.06) and (P = 0.12), respectively. The mean weight, height, and body mass indices of the subjects and controls were consistently below those of the NCHS standards. The magnitude of the difference from the NCHS standard was also more pronounced in the subjects, increased with advancing age and affected male subjects more than females. Progressive declines in the anthropometric attainment and hemoglobin concentration were observed from social class 1 to 4; this was statistically significant in controls (P = 0.00) but not in subjects (P > 0.1). However, SCA patients had significantly lower values than controls in each of the social classes.
Conclusion: Poor socioeconomic status has an adverse effect on the nutritional status and hemoglobin of SCA patients.
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