Lactose intolerance (LI) describes a constellation of symptoms due to lactase Lactase An enzyme which catalyzes the hydrolysis of lactose to d-galactose and d-glucose. Defects in the enzyme cause lactose intolerance. Digestion and Absorption of Carbohydrates deficiency (LD), the enzyme located in the brush border Brush border Tubular System of the adsorptive cells in the small intestine Small intestine The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy. Lactose is the disaccharide present in milk and requires hydrolysis Hydrolysis The process of cleaving a chemical compound by the addition of a molecule of water. Proteins and Peptides by lactase Lactase An enzyme which catalyzes the hydrolysis of lactose to d-galactose and d-glucose. Defects in the enzyme cause lactose intolerance. Digestion and Absorption of Carbohydrates to break it down into its 2 absorbable constituents, glucose and galactose. Lactose intolerance typically presents with bloating Bloating Constipation, abdominal cramping Abdominal cramping Norovirus, diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea, and flatulence. The diagnosis of LI can be suspected clinically based on symptoms after consumption of a lactose-containing meal. The most commonly used test for confirmation of the diagnosis is the lactose hydrogen breath test. The treatment goal is to eliminate symptoms while maintaining sufficient intake of calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes and vitamin D Vitamin D A vitamin that includes both cholecalciferols and ergocalciferols, which have the common effect of preventing or curing rickets in animals. It can also be viewed as a hormone since it can be formed in skin by action of ultraviolet rays upon the precursors, 7-dehydrocholesterol and ergosterol, and acts on vitamin D receptors to regulate calcium in opposition to parathyroid hormone. Fat-soluble Vitamins and their Deficiencies. Alternative diagnoses to LI should always be sought, as many people wrongly attribute their symptoms to LI.
Last updated: Nov 29, 2021
Consider a diagnosis of LI if typical symptoms occur within a few hours after ingestion of a lactose-containing meal and resolve after 5–7 days.
Note: Tests for LD alone do not confirm LI unless symptoms are also provoked by lactose loading.
Always consider potential secondary causes of LD when making the diagnosis:
Treat the primary disorder. It may take months for normal lactase Lactase An enzyme which catalyzes the hydrolysis of lactose to d-galactose and d-glucose. Defects in the enzyme cause lactose intolerance. Digestion and Absorption of Carbohydrates activity to return to normal.
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