watervole: (Default)
Judith Proctor ([personal profile] watervole) wrote2017-04-02 03:37 pm

Iron tablets

 Interestingly enough, I'm now thinking twice about the iron tablets.

Following up on a couple of comments people made, I decided to do a bit more reading.

Liquid iron supplements can stain the teeth, but not tablets, so that wasn't an issue.

However, the interesting question is the causes of iron deficiency.

I eat a diet with a reasonable amount of beans, green veg (veg box and allotment), brown rice and a small amount of red meat, so should have enough.  Therefore, it was either the pain from the pulled chest muscles that was causing the tiredness, or, if I am actually anemic, there is probably an underlying cause.

In people over 60 (and I'm on the good side of that by fewer years than I'd like...) one of the potential causes of anemia (once you rule out several that are unlikely to be me) is bowel cancer.

My mother-in-law died of bowel cancer that was diagnosed too late.  She was diagnosed as anemic and put on iron tablets for a couple of years, but it's clear from the NHS website that she should have been tested for bowel cancer at that time.

I would be extremely angry about this, except for the fact that she had gone blind.  Her quality of life had dropped dramatically and she was bored to tears.   She had an active mind and was no longer able to read the book she loved, do her cryptic crossword or even garden reliably.  I nearly cried when I realised she'd planted half her cyclamen upsidedown.  Her garden was her life.  The cancer gave her an escape from a life she no longer wanted.

(brief pause while I cry.  It's eleven months since Molly died and I still miss her.  I have many of her plants growing in my garden and I tend them with loving care)

Back again.  To cut a long story short.   I should stop taking the tablets and if I find I'm getting tired again, I should visit the doctor and get a blood test to see if I'm actually anemic, and if I'm actually anemic, whether there is an underlying cause.

So, let's do this scientifically.  

I'm going to stop the tablets today and see if I continue to improve.

aunty_marion: iGranny (iGranny)

[personal profile] aunty_marion 2017-04-02 05:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Hm. Have you had the bowel cancer self-screening test thingy? I think I've done two now (can't remember if it's every year or every other year). I don't know if you can request them, or get tested by your GP, but it might be worth a shot if it's something you suspect.

I was very marginally anaemic a couple of times when I was giving blood, so I put myself on iron tablets for a week before each donation and a week after. I found that the ones they gave me at the clinics gave me black diarrhoea (ick), but discovered that Ferrous Gluconate, which I ended up buying over the counter as it was cheaper than prescriptions (back in the days when I paid for prescriptions!), didn't, so I could take it without problems.
kerravonsen: Susan aiming bow and arrows: "Sharp Mind" (Susan)

[personal profile] kerravonsen 2017-04-02 11:52 pm (UTC)(link)
This sounds very sensible. It's good to find out if iron tablets are masking an underlying condition, something that can be treated, rather than just assuming that "it's just one of those things". Some of my health problems would have been diagnosed sooner if I hadn't assumed that there was nothing that could be done about them.

And given that your mother died of bowel cancer, especially important to get that investigated!

ranunculus: (Default)

[personal profile] ranunculus 2017-04-06 04:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Hope you are feeling better, with or without iron tablets.