Lactose Intolerances In The World

Lactose intolerance is estimated to affect as much as 33 percent of the world’s population. With it being Native American Heritage Month, this is a highly relevant topic because most Native Americans are lactose intolerant! (Lactose intolerance is also common among people of Asian, African and Hispanic descent.)

dairy allergy

Lactose intolerance is a condition where a person does not create enough of the enzyme lactase to break down the lactose (sugar) in milk. Lactose intolerance is more common in adults than children.

Lactose intolerance should not be confused with milk allergy which involves an inappropriate immune response to the proteins in milk. With milk allergy, the immune system mistakes the proteins for “invading enemies” and tries to fight them off. This results in a variety of symptoms. Like lactose intolerance, milk allergy can lead to gastrointestinal problems like bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, etc. But milk allergy can lead to other symptoms, too, including hay fever, skin rashes, and respiratory problems (wheezing, asthma, etc.)

If you suffer from discomfort after drinking milk, talk to a doctor. He or she can help you determine what is causing your troubles and rule out more serious problems. If you are lactose intolerant, try reduced-lactose alternatives or even soy, rice, or almond milk. You can also try drinking small amounts of milk throughout the day or ingesting your milk along with other foods (like cereal).

If you suspect you have a milk allergy, a skin test can help confirm the diagnosis. For treatment, sublingual immunotherapy has been shown to be effective in desensitizing the body to milk. It is administered as drops under the tongue. Contact AllergyEasy for details.

About The Author

Stuart H. Agren, M.D.

Stuart H. Agren, M.D. completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah and went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1974. He completed additional training at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah and then established his private medical practice starting in 1975. Dr. Agren completed a mini-residency in Industrial Medicine at the Robert Johnson School of Medicine at Rutgers University and also completed training to become a certified Medical Review Officer.

Dr. Agren was the Medical Director at TRW and McDonnell Douglas in Mesa, Arizona and at Stauffer Chemical and Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University.

In his private medical practice, Dr. Agren specialized in family practice and allergy. In his work as a private practice allergist, he was one of the first doctors in the country to prescribe sublingual immunotherapy to his patients as an alternative to subcutaneous immunotherapy (allergy shots). He has also been a trailblazer in the field of food allergy treatment and research, developing a program to treat multiple food allergies simultaneously using sublingual immunotherapy. Dr. Agren has been featured on local CBS, NBC, and ABC news affiliates and won the peer-nominated “Top Doc” award from Phoenix Magazine.

After 20 years in private practice, Dr. Agren became the Founder and President of AllergyEasy, which helps primary care physicians around the country offer allergy testing and sublingual immunotherapy treatment to their patients. Over 200 physicians in over 32 states use the AllergyEasy program to help their patients overcome environmental and food allergies and asthma.