Blood platelets are a vital component in the human body. Also known as thrombocytes, it plays a crucial role in the process of hemostasis that stops bleeding when a blood vessel ruptures. Platelets grow naturally. In 1 µL of blood in the human body, the normal platelet count is from 1.50,000 to 4.50,000. Sometimes, if the platelet count is slightly low, it does not imply an illness. However, when its count is less than 50,000 per microliter, it means thrombocytopenia. If the platelet count is lower while the patient is suffering from dengue, this can be dangerous.
A person suffering from dengue often experiences a drop in platelet count. The reason platelet count decreases is as follows:
- Bone marrow suppression. Blood cells are made in the bone marrow. Bone marrow suppression results in shortage of blood cells and low platelet count eventually. Other results resulting from Bone Marrow Suppression include continuous bleeding.
- According to some studies, dengue virus may even adhere to platelets despite the presence of antibodies, causing a decrease in platelet count.
- Dengue virus affects vascular endothelial cells with infection. Infected cells destroy platelets thereby decreasing platelet count rapidly. This is one of the main reasons behind the low platelet count in dengue.
Dengue, along with low platelet counts, can cause continuous bleeding and shock, leading to death. The condition is commonly known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. Usually, complications are not noticed in the first two days. They begin to appear from the third day. Doctors suggest that even if the fever resolves, the patient should be under observation for a few days.
Most often, dengue is self-limiting, accompanying body aches, nausea, headache, pain behind the eye (retro-orbital headache), pain in the abdomen, and rash on the body. Sometimes fever can be classified under dengue without the above symptoms. Mucosal bleeding, decreased platelet count, increased red blood cells, pain in the abdomen accompanied by continuous vomiting, and severe bleeding.
Sometimes the symptoms are not specific. The patient may have high fever, eye pain, body pain, nausea and joint pain. Eye pain and joint pain indicate dengue. Symptoms usually appear after the first 4-5 days of the bite and the fever lasts up to seven days. Even after fever subsides, body pain, weakness, rash, and joint pain remain for a long time.
How to diagnose dengue?
The following tests are done to detect dengue:
- IgG and IgM Antibodies
- PCR to examine the virus
- Complete blood count to check platelet and white blood cell count.
The need for platelet transfusion will be decided by the physician based on the severity of dengue, the patient’s age and immunity.
How can platelet count be increased in dengue?
Intake of vitamins and minerals properly rebuilds platelets and maintains that. Although there are supplements for these nutrients, it is always better to absorb them from food. Healthy eating will help you regain strength faster. The vitamins and minerals required by the body to increase the platelet count in dengue are:
- B12 vitamin. It is known to keep blood cells strong. Lack of vitamin D can lead to low platelet count. Animal foods such as eggs, beef, liver, etc. are rich in vitamin B-12. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, etc. also have a high vitamin B-12 content.
- Folate to increase platelet count. Folate, a type of vitamin B helps blood cells. It is found in oranges, peanuts, black eyed peas, beans and is present in other supplements like folic acid. Helps in increasing platelet count.
- Iron. Iron is responsible for the production of blood cells. Increases blood cells in anemic patients. Pumpkin seeds, beef, lentils, mussels are very rich in iron and therefore help in increasing platelet count.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to absorb iron in the body and increase the platelet count. It also helps in platelet grouping and proper functioning. High sources of vitamin C are cauliflower, broccoli, mangoes and pineapples, and tomatoes, green and red peppers.
Supplements for Increasing Platelet Count
- Extrato de folha de mamão para aumentar a contagem de plaquetas. A importância do extrato de folha de mamão foi encontrada em um estudo no ano de 2013. O estudo diz que o extrato da folha de mamão aumentou a contagem de plaquetas em animais a uma taxa alarmante. Se consumido a dose recomendada, não terá efeitos colaterais. Suco de folha de mamão também pode ser consumido para aumentar a contagem de plaquetas. Existem pílulas contendo extrato de folhas de mamão que é encontrado em lojas médicas.
- Clorofila para aumentar a contagem de plaquetas e reduzir a fadiga. A clorofila ajuda na fotossíntese. Pacientes com trombocitopenia relataram ter sido aliviados de fadiga após tomar suplementos de clorofila. Isso também ajuda a aumentar a contagem de plaquetas.
- Bovine Colostrum. Colostrum is known to be a popular dietary supplement. It is the primary substance that a newborn cow receives from its mother. It contains some proteins that help increase platelet count as well as boosts the immune system.
- Melatonin to increase platelet count. Although naturally produced by the body, it is also found in tablets, liquids and lotions in medical stores. Increases platelet count and improves sleep pattern in the patient as well.
Some foods increase platelet counts, while some foods and beverages like alcohol, cranberry juice, tahini, quinine, etc. may decrease platelet counts and should therefore be avoided during dengue fever.