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BACKGROUND: The burden of diabetes mellitus in Sub-Saharan Africa is growing rapidly, and yet the prevalence and patient characteristics are still largely unknown.

OBJECTIVES: We analyzed clinical and demographic characteristics of Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) patients attending a diabetes clinic in Guinea-Bissau from February 2008 to April 2014, and estimated the prevalence and risk factors of unknown-impaired fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and diabetes, as well as excess mortality associated with T2DM.

METHODS: We characterized T2DM patients attending the national diabetes clinic in Bissau. Diabetes was diagnosed based on FPG. We matched T2DM patients 1:1 with non-diabetes community controls on age and sex to determine relevant risk factors for T2DM using logistic regression. Furthermore, we matched patients 1:6 with community controls to assess long-term survival (until February 2019) in a Cox regression using calendar time as the underlying timescale. Verbal autopsies determined the cause of death among T2DM patients and controls.

RESULTS: The mean age among T2DM was 50.6 (SD 11.1), and the mean FPG at first consultation was high (13.2 mmol/L (SD 5.1)). Ethnicity, family history of diabetes, hypertension, and anthropometrics differed among T2DM patients, community controls with impaired FPG, and healthy controls. Family history of diabetes (OR = 5.65, 95% CI: 3.10-10.3) and elevated waist circumference (2.33, 1.26-4.29) were significant risk factors for T2DM. 20.4% (59/289) of community controls had abnormal FPG. T2DM patients had an excess mortality hazard ratio of 3.53 (95%CI: 1.92-6.52). Deaths caused by bacterial infections, including foot ulcers, were more common among T2DM patients, compared with community controls (54% (7/13) vs. 19% (5/27) (P = 0.02)).

CONCLUSION: Several risk factors including were associated with T2DM in Guinea-Bissau. We found a high prevalence of elevated FPG among randomly selected community controls. In combination with higher mortality among T2DM patients, an urgent need for better treatment options and increased awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1802136
JournalGlobal Health Action
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 31. Dec 2020


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  • Diabetes in urban Guinea-Bissau

    Bjerregaard-Andersen, M. (Project participant), Byberg, S. (Project participant) & Bundesen, C. (Project participant)


    Project: Research

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