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Help your patients to diagnose and manage lactose intolerance

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									                        24 April 2009                                                                                                            advertisement feature • 23



Help your patients to diagnose
and manage lactose intolerance
Many patients are still unsure as to how to
manage lactose intolerance (LI), despite a growing                                                                                       Top tips for patient
acknowledgment of food allergies and intolerances                                                                                        support and education


L
                                                                                                                                         Below are some useful tips for helping
        actose intolerance or hypolactasia is                                                                                            patients learn about their condition and
        caused by a deficiency of lactase, an                                                                                            stay well:
        enzyme present in the lining of the small
        intestine which breaks down lactose (milk                                                                                          i Always check the labelling on food for
sugar) into simpler forms of sugar, so it can be                                                                                             lactose or milk derivatives
absorbed into the bloodstream. Undigested                                                                                                  i Check the labelling on tablets and
lactose remains in the large intestine and is                                                                                                inform the pharmacist dispensing the
fermented by bacteria that naturally live in the                                                                                             medicine of the condition
gut, creating uncomfortable symptoms. Although
not usually a life threatening condition, it can                                                                                           i In the early stages of diagnosis, keep a
have an enormous impact on quality of life. With                                                                                             food diary to establish which foods
help and guidance from nurses and other                                                                                                      cause symptoms
healthcare professionals, families can ensure a
nutritionally adequate diet, without the symptoms.                                                                                         i Use a lactose free alternative such as
   Lactose intolerance (LI) affects a significant                                                                                            Lactofree®
proportion of the world’s population. In the UK it
                                                                                                                                           i Suggest lactose free recipes to ensure
is estimated that the incidence is one in seven,1
                                                                                                                                             the diet is varied and of interest
but many people are experiencing discomfort on
a daily basis from consuming lactose, without                       growing acknowledgment of food allergies and                           i Carry lactase enzyme tablets or drops
realising the real cause.                                           intolerances. Help your patients to diagnose and                         for when lactose avoidance is not
                                                                    manage lactose intolerance fact have lactose                             possible
Confusion over dairy                                                intolerance. A misdiagnosis of LI as a dairy
Many patients are experiencing discomfort on a                      allergy can be negative for both nurse and patient
daily basis from consuming lactose, possibly                        as the patients can be ‘labelled’ with a wrong
mistaking it for what they believe to be dairy                      condition and the nurse is unable to treat the                      Helping patients minimise
intolerance, without realising that the lactose                     patient effectively.                                                symptoms and stay well
could actually be causing their discomfort.                                                                                             Patients can minimise the disruption of
Confusion over the meaning of ‘dairy intolerance’                   Testing for lactose intolerance                                                       a lactose-reduced diet with
is causing people to unnecessarily eliminate                        The most common tests for diagnosing lactose                                          Lactofree ®, the UK’s first
dairy products from their diet. Avoiding milk and                   intolerance are:                                                                      lactose free* dair y range of
milk products altogether, without a carefully                          • Lactose Intolerance Test                                                         products including whole and
managed diet, can result in long term health                           • Hydrogen Breath Test                                                             semi-skimmed milk, hard and
problems such as osteoporosis, caused by a lack                        • Stool Acidity Test                                                               soft cheese, flavoured and
of calcium.                                                         In addition to these, a reliable test for                                             natural yogurt. The full range
                                                                    diagnosing LI is to follow                                                            allows lactose intoler ant
Signs and symptoms                                                  the Elimination Diet,                                                                 individuals to enjoy the full
The most common symptoms of lactose                                 developed by Lactofree                                                                taste and nutritional benefits
intolerance present themselves between 30                           and reviewed by the                                                                   of cows’ milk products without
minutes to 2 hours after ingesting lactose. The                     British         Dietetic                                                               t h e s i d e ef fe c t s t h at
severity of symptoms differs from person to                         Association (BDA). It                                                                               l ac tose br ings .
person, with the most common symptoms                               involves eliminating all                                                                            They al so have
including:                                                          foods and dr ink s                                                                                  the same cooking
   • Nausea                                                         containing lactose from                                                                             properties as their
   • Abdominal pain                                                 the diet for two weeks                                                                               s tandar d dair y
   • Bloating                                                       to see if symptoms                                                                                   counterparts.
   • Flatulence                                                     disappear. If symptoms                                                                                  Lactofree is not
These symptoms are not limited to lactose                           do not disappear, then                                                                                suitable for people
intolerance, meaning the condition can often be                     they are unlikely to have lactose                                                                     who suffer from
misdiagnosed as a dairy allergy or intolerance.                     intolerance. If symptoms do substantially reduce                    galactocaemia (a hereditary disease that is
Many patients are still unsure as to how to                         then lactose can be slowly re-introduced into the                   caused by the lack of the liver enzyme required
manage lactose intolerance (LI), despite a                          diet to see how much can be tolerated.                              to digest lactose).

*We make every effort possible to ensure that Lactofree contains no lactose. We carry out rigorous scientific testing using the
most accurate UKAS -accredited tests available which enable us to detect lactose at the trace level of 0.03%. At this detection level   Reference
our tests show that there is no lactose present in Lactofree. Please refer to lactofree.co.uk for more information. Not suitable for    1. Are You Missing Something Report, 2006
milk allergy sufferers.



                                       For more information visit www.lactofree.co.uk

								
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