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Why Platelet Count Decreases in Dengue?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Dushyant Rana 92% (20 ratings)
MBBS, MD - General Medicine
General Physician, Gurgaon  •  21 years experience
Why Platelet Count Decreases in Dengue?

One of the fearful diseases that is doing rounds in recent years in Dengue. If someone complains of fever and joint pain, the very first question that pops up in our mind, have they got tested for dengue? It is caused by a virus carried out by female infected mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Blood is made up of three types of cells. The liquid form is called plasma, RBCs are oxygen carrying cells and White Blood cells fight against infection and provide immunity. The third type is platelet which helps in blood clotting. In normal human body, the platelets count in dengue ranges from 1.5 lacs to 4 lacs, while platelet count in dengue decreases to as low as 20,000 to 40,000.

In dengue platelet count and white blood cells decreases in number which affect the immunity system. This happens because of the following:

  • Platelet count in dengue decreases as it suppresses bone marrow, which is the platelet-producing area.

  • Platelets count in dengue decreases because Blood cells affected by the disease virus damage platelets.

  • Antibodies that are produced during this period leads to massive destruction of platelets in dengue.

Symptoms of Dengue fever:

Symptoms develop 4 to 7 days after bite of mosquito which includes high fever, vomiting, pain behind the eyes, headache, nausea, and severe muscular and joint pain. Pain in eye and joint lead to the suspicion of the dengue fever. The fever lasts for about 5 to 7 days and is followed by a prolonged period of fatigue, joint pains, body pain, and rashes (learn more about Painful Rashes). For the sake of confirming the diagnosis, the doctor will run some lab tests.

These include testing for antibodies IgG and IgM, PCR testing to check the virus and a complete blood count. This will reveal the decrease in the white blood cells and the platelets in dengue. There isn't a particular level below which a person would require platelets in dengue. In aged people and with people who have other chronic diseases, platelet transfusion may be required even if the blood count is about 50,000. The doctor will decide this based on the patient’s health. The right thing to do is to go for a medical consultation and discuss your situation with the doctor and identify what needs to be done for your condition specifically.

About platelets:

Platelets also known as thrombocytes are small blood cells that are produced in bone marrow.  Decreased platelets in dengue fever means that blood has lost its clotting abilities and are not able to fight against infection.

Foods that increase platelets in dengue:

One should try foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid, vitamins, iron and other minerals. These foods fight against antibodies and also increases dengue platelet count. You can also consume fruits like papaya, kiwi, oranges, berries etc. It helps in increasing dengue platelet count.

Vitamin B-12

This vitamin helps in keeping blood cells healthy. Deficiency of B-12 has been associated with low platelets in dengue. Have these foods to increase platelets:

  • beef liver

  • clams

  • Eggs

  • Dairy products

Iron

Iron helps in producing healthy blood cells. You can consume these foods that contains iron which is important for health and well as platelet count in dengue:

Vitamin C

This plays a vital role in platelet to function efficiently. It also helps in absorbing iron which helps in increasing platelets count in dengue.

Good sources of vitamin C include:

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