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How to Take Iron Supplements Before Surgery

By Leigh Wittman

Iron aids in the production of red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen around the body. Inadequate red blood cells decrease the body's ability to heal. Increased red blood cell production leads to increased oxygen circulation and faster healing. Therefore, it is beneficial for some people to supplement their iron intake prior to surgery to boost the body's ability to produce red blood cells. Consult your physician prior to supplementing your diet with iron or any other dietary supplement before surgery.

Visit your doctor for a preoperative exam. Your doctor will check your overall health and review your health history to ensure that you are a good candidate for surgery and unlikely to experience complications. Your physician may choose to perform some blood tests to test your iron levels and other aspects of your blood. Based upon the results of these tests your physician will make a recommendation on how much extra iron you should take prior to surgery.

Purchase an iron supplement, which can be purchased as a drugstore or pharmacy. Typically, a 65 mg iron supplement is ideal for preoperative use, according to "Introduction to Medical-Surgical Nursing." However, you should purchase the dosage of iron suggested by your physician.

Take your iron supplement on a full stomach with a large glass of water. Taking an iron supplement on an empty stomach can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Continue to take your iron supplement once per day until the day of your surgery. Tell your surgical team about any medications and supplements you were taking, including your iron supplements.

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