Also known as Lactose deficiency, lactose intolerance refers to a digestive problem arising when one’s body becomes incapable of digesting lactose. That is, failing to fully digest the milk sugar in dairy products. This condition is usually not perilous although its symptoms can make an individual uncomfortable. Lactase enzyme is commonly produced at the linings of small intestines of every human being. Its deficiency thus, is the manifestation of lactose intolerance.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of lactose intolerance lead to one becoming uncomfortable for about thirty minutes to two hours. They include but not limited to abdominal bloating, diarrhea, gas, nausea, abdominal pain, gurgling or rumbling sounds in the lower belly, throwing up, loose stools which a times become foamy.
Notably, the above symptoms of lactose intolerance are very common. One should not assume that when he or she feels sick after drinking milk then he or she is lactose intolerant. However, if one feels sick every time he has milk, ice cream or any other dairy product, then that individual could be having low levels of enzyme lactase in his small intestine thus he could be lactose intolerant.
Glucose refers to proteins that form the basis of any chemical reaction of which lactase is one. Lactase enzyme attaches to lactose molecules in any eaten food then breaks them into two sugars namely; galactose and glucose. These two simple sugars are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. In the contrary, lactose intolerant victims do not generate enough lactase enzymes thus; the lactose stays in their digestive system and gets fermented by bacteria. This fermentation process brings the symptoms that are associated with lactose intolerance.
Other health conditions also play a role in lowering the levels of lactase in individuals not forgetting the age factor. Sensitivity to foods that contain lactose is a recipe for treatment of lactose intolerance. This is achieved by usually controlling ones diet.
Should one decide to experiment with what to eat and what not to, gradual introduction of such foods becomes necessary as opposed to introducing them all at once. Other factors that can make one prone to lactose intolerance include premature birth as infants born prematurely may have reduced levels of lactase, other diseases affecting the small intestine like bacterial overgrowth and celiac, and cancer treatment like radiation therapy in the abdomen.
In order to ensure healthy growth and development in children, nutrients like calcium and minerals are necessary in their diets. Should one realize that he is extremely sensitive to lactose; an advice from a general practitioner about his or her diet ought to be sought. One may also need to have regular bone mineral density checks or referral to an expert in diet and nutrition who should advise on what foods to be included in one’s (or children) diet.
In understanding this lactase deficiency thus, people should monitor the above symptoms and practice proper diets especially in children as this condition usually come with age. One’s health should always be a concern.