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Health Tip: Understanding Lactose-Tolerance Testing

(HealthDay News) -- A doctor may recommend a lactose-tolerance test if you suspect a problem digesting lactose from dairy products.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance may include abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea.

The test involves collecting a series of breath samples exhaled into a collector, or a series of blood samples drawn from your arm.

A hydrogen breath test is the most common procedure, the American Association for Clinical Chemistry says. Breath levels of hydrogen increase after you are given a lactose-loaded drink. If the samples have high amounts of hydrogen, it is likely that you are lactose-intolerant.

A second procedure, a glucose blood test, evaluates whether blood-sugar levels increase with the consumption of lactose. If there is not a significant increase and a person has symptoms described above, it's probably due to lactose intolerance.

Care must be taken when interpreting results of this test in people with diabetes, the association warns.

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