Iron supplements are often prescribed for correcting and preventing iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). IDA is a condition in which a person lacks iron in the blood. Iron is an important element that is required by your body to make haemoglobin, a blood product that carries oxygen in the bloodstream and helps make red blood cells.
A simple blood test is what you undergo to diagnose iron deficiency anaemia. If you have IDA, it means that your body is unable provide enough oxygen to the vital organs. Lack of oxygen in the body can cause breathlessness, dizziness, headache, palpitations and fatigue.
Iron is usually found in many foods, but there are conditions where people fail to get enough iron through food alone. In such cases, an iron supplement could prove beneficial, which is available in the form of tablets, capsules, oral liquids and oral drops.
Before you start using an iron supplement, it is imperative that you consult your doctor. Inform your doctor if you are under any treatment with OTC/prescription medicines, herbal products or supplements. More importantly, tell about the history of medicinal allergies.
Use iron supplement as directed by your medical professional and follow all the instructions carefully. For proper absorption of iron in the blood, make sure you take the dose an hour before food. However, if you feel dizzy or queasy after taking an iron supplement, have some food to reduce gastric irritation. Take your dose(s) at the same time each day without missing or skipping. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible, but avoid taking two doses at a time.
The duration of the course of therapy usually depends on your blood iron levels. Keep in mind that iron supplements can alter your stools colour, which is harmless. Do not exceed the dose; otherwise, overdose will increase the risk of adverse effects. Very few people may experience side effects.