Elderly Care in La Jolla CA
15 March 2016,
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Elderly Care in La Jolla CA

Elderly Care in La Jolla CAMilk, yogurt, and other dairy products can be healthy and delicious components of your regular diet. If you are on an elderly care journey with a senior who suffers from lactose intolerance, however, these foods can cause a variety of unpleasant issues. It is very important to differentiate between lactose intolerance and a milk allergy. A milk allergy is an actual allergic reaction to milk and results in the same types of reactions that you might experience when exposed to another allergen. These reactions might include sneezing, development of hives, and even difficulty breathing. Lactose intolerance, however, is the inability to properly digest the lactose. This is a natural sugar in milk and milk products digested by an enzyme within the body called lactase.

People who are lactose intolerant have a deficiency in lactase. This makes it so that the body cannot digest the lactose in these foods.

This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Gurgling sounds
  • A rumbling feeling in the stomach

These symptoms can appear very quickly, but they generally appear between about half an hour and two hours after consuming the food with lactose. Though some instance of lactose intolerance are very severe, most people are able to consume a small amount of dairy products without having issues.

Use these tips to help you create an elderly care approach tailored to help your parent cope with lactose intolerance:

  • Gauge level of intolerance. Take a couple of weeks to do an experiment to gauge your parent’s level of lactose intolerance and general onset of symptoms. Write down everything that your parent eats and drinks and whether it contains lactose, then if and when symptoms appear. Be aware that dairy products are not the only foods that contain lactose so you will need to get into a habit of reading all food labels.
  • Seek other calcium sources. Many people are concerned about eliminating dairy products because they feel that they will not get enough calcium. Be sure to integrate plenty of calcium-rich foods such as spinach, broccoli, oranges, and milk substitutes into your parent’s diet. Ask her doctor about possibly including a vitamin D supplement.
  • Try low fat. Whole versions of dairy products contain more lactose than lower fat versions. Try experimenting with low fat or even nonfat versions of milk, cheese, and yogurt and determine if they cause the same symptoms. For the most accurate information, have your parent eat only one of these foods at a time and space them out by several hours or only offer one in a day. This ensures you know which food causes issues and to what extent.
  • Try lactase supplements. Ask your parent’s doctor about products that put more lactase into the body to help with symptoms. Products such as pills are easy to take and may allow your parent to continue to enjoy her favorite dairy and lactose-containing foods without the discomfort of her intolerance. .

For more information about how the caregivers at La Jolla Nurses Homecare can help your aging parents remain in their own homes, call 858-454-9339. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable elder care in La Jolla, CA, and the surrounding communities.