Just as any other organ system, the digestive system remains susceptible to diseases such as Lactose Intolerance. Individuals who are diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance experience the inability to effectively digest lactose, a carbohydrate often found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, ice cream, and cream cheese. The inability to digest lactose is due to the lack of an enzyme called lactase in which its production is found in cells within the small intestine. For a normal individual without Lactose Intolerance, the enzyme lactase would break down the carbohydrate lactose. If someone diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance were to have any dairy product such as the ones stated above in their system, various problematic digestive system symptoms may soon result such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, flatulence, and nausea. However, there are actually some individuals with Lactose Intolerance who can consume an adequate amount of dairy products without experiencing harsh symptoms. Generally, the effects of these symptoms possess mild to severe extremities solely based on the amount of lactose digested as well as the individual’s particular lactose tolerance.
Lactose intolerance may be diagnosed by two common tests: Hydrogen Breath Test and Stool Acidity Test. In Hydrogen Breath test, the patient drinks a large dose of milk and their breath is analyzed regularly to check the amount of hydrogen. Usually, people have very little hydrogen in their breath. However, those with lactose intolerance will have high levels of hydrogen due to the undigested lactose. The accuracy of this test may be affected by smoking. The second method of detecting lactose intolerance, Stool Acidity Test, is primarily used for infants and young children. If lactic acid and glucose are present, it may be determined that the child has lactose intolerance.
Many people are concerned about their calcium intake if they are lactose intolerant. Some foods with high calcium contents are rhubarb, sardines, spinach, salmon, and soy milk.
- , "National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)." Lactose Intolerance. N.p., 23 Apr. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.