Sanisa Foungthong March 19, 2016
What is it?
Types of Lactose Intolerance
- most common
- a person starts life producing plenty of lactase, but lactase production decreases making lactose difficult to digest in adulthood
- genetically determined
Secondary lactose intolerance:
- small intestine decreases lactase production after illness, injury, or surgery involving small intestine
- treatment may restore lactase levels and improve signs and symptoms
Congenital lactose intolerance:
- babies are born with lactose intolerance caused by absence of lactase
- the infants have watery diarrhea if they ingest lactose
- passes from generation to generation called autosomal recessive (both mother and father must pass the same gene for child to develop this type)
Signs and Symptoms
- abdominal bloating, a feeling of fullness or swelling in the abdomen
- abdominal pain
Physical Exam: During a physical exam, a health care provider usually
- checks for abdominal bloating
- uses a stethoscope to listen to sounds within the abdomen
- taps on the abdomen to check for tenderness or pain
A health care provider may recommend eliminating all milk and milk products from your diet for a short period to see if the symptoms will go away. Symptoms that go away when a person eliminates lactose from his or her diet may confirm he or she has lactose intolerance.
Hydrogen breath test: This test measures the amount of hydrogen in a person’s breath. Normally, a small amount of hydrogen is detectable in the breath when a person eats or drinks and digests lactose.Undigested lactose produces high levels of hydrogen. The test has a patient drink a known amount of lactose, then the patient breathes into a balloon-type container that measures breath hydrogen level.
Stool acidity test: Undigested lactose creates lactic acid and other fatty acids. A child may have glucose in his or her stool as a result of undigested lactose. The health care provider will give the child’s parent or caretaker a container for collecting the stool specimen. The stool sample is given to the health care provider who takes it to a lab for analysis.
I did not find any ethical implications for this disease.
How common is it?
- 30 to 50 million people in the United States are lactose intolerant
- In infancy, lactose intolerance results from congenital lactase deficiency. It is rare, with an estimated 1 in 60,000 newborns affected (in Finland)
- 33% of the human population is lactose intolerant
- 65% of the human population has a harder time digesting lactose after infancy
- Occurrs mainly in people of East Asian descent, affecting 90% of adults
- Only 5% of people of Northern European descent are lactose intolerant because the population has a long history of dependence on unfermented milk products.
The MCM6 gene that is inherited by parents determines a person's ability to digest lactose in adulthood. Variations that promote lactase production are considered autosomal dominant. One copy of the altered element in each cell is sufficient. If a person does not inherit these variations from either parent they will have some degree of lactose intolerance.
This is when a person has normal lactase production.
An autosomal recessive situation is the reason for a child with congenital lactase deficiency.
Normal human karyotype
The MCM6 gene is located on chromosome 2. A person with lactose intolerance has a mutated MCM6 gene, which regulates the LCT gene that makes lactase.
What if I have lactose intolerance?
- bread and other baked goods
- waffles, pancakes, biscuits, cookies, and the mixes to make them
- processed breakfast foods (doughnuts, frozen waffles, toaster pastries, sweet rolls)
- processed breakfast cereals
- instant potatoes, soups, and breakfast drinks
- potato chips, corn chips, and other processed snacks
- processed meats (bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats)
- salad dressings
- protein powders and bars
Check the food label for ingredients. If it has these, it has lactose:
- milk by-products
- dry milk solids
- nonfat dry milk powder
Ensure you get enough vitamin D since milk product intake is limited.
There is no cure for lactose intolerance, but there are ways to live with it:
- Eat or drink milk and milk products along with other foods
- Spread milk or milk products throughout the day
- Eat or drink milk and milk products that have reduced lactose
- Eat or drink other foods instead of milk and milk products
- Use lactase products
Others with Lactose Intolerance:
Sibley, Eric. "Lactose Intolerance." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016. <http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/lactose-intolerance/Pages/facts.aspx>.
"Diagnosis/Treatment/and Ethical Implications - Lactose Intolerance by Jess."Diagnosis/Treatment/and Ethical Implications - Lactose Intolerance by Jess. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
"MCM6." Genetics Home Reference. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2016. <https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MCM6>.