Lactose Intolerance

561 Words 3 Pages
Between thirty to fifty million Americans are considered to be lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is a common chronic digestive disorder in which a person’s intestinal tract lacks the ability to make lactase. It results from a drop in or disruption of the production of lactase in the small intestine. The small intestine is a primary part of the digestive system, and is the longest part of the gastrointestinal tract and makes up about three quarters of the digestive system.
It is a hollow tube like organ that connects to the stomach one end and the large intestine on the other. The small intestine is also about fifteen to twenty feet long and one inch in diameter. It is coiled and looped, and it fills up much of the abdominal cavity. The
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The enzyme production may at a certain age or because a disease or radiation treatment for cancer has damaged the villi of the small intestine. In many people, after early childhood the lactase gene is “turned off”. It will no longer synthesize lactase, which prevents the digestion and absorption of lactose. Infants born prematurely could have reduced levels of lactase because the small intestine does not develop the lactase producing cells until late in the third trimester. This condition is also mostly common in people of African, Asian, Hispanic and American Indian descent. If at and point in time radiation therapy for cancer was received in the abdomen or have small intestine complications from chemotherapy, there is an increased risk of lactose intolerance. The signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance normally begin thirty minutes to two hours after eating or drinking food that contain lactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance may include gas, cramping, bloating, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea after consumption of lactose containing food or drink, and a gassy feeling within thirty minutes to two hours following a meal high in dairy products. The symptoms begin to subside one to two days after the last lactose containing food has been

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