Lactose intolerance risk factors

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Lactose Intolerance Microchapters


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Mahda Alihashemi M.D. [2]


The most potent risk factor in the development of lactose intolerance is ethnicity. Other risk factors include increasing age, infection and drug.

Risk Factors

The most potent risk factor in the development of lactose intolerance is ethnicity. Other risk factors include increasing age, infection and drug.

Common Risk Factors

  • Common risk factors in the development of lactose intolerance include:[1][2]
    • Increasing age: The prevalence of lactose intoleance is low in children younger than six years
    • Ethnicity: Lactose intolerance is more common in African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Asian Americans, Native Americans

Less Common Risk Factors


  1. Enattah NS, Sahi T, Savilahti E, Terwilliger JD, Peltonen L, Järvelä I (2002). "Identification of a variant associated with adult-type hypolactasia". Nat. Genet. 30 (2): 233–7. doi:10.1038/ng826. PMID 11788828.
  2. Tishkoff SA, Reed FA, Ranciaro A, Voight BF, Babbitt CC, Silverman JS, Powell K, Mortensen HM, Hirbo JB, Osman M, Ibrahim M, Omar SA, Lema G, Nyambo TB, Ghori J, Bumpstead S, Pritchard JK, Wray GA, Deloukas P (2007). "Convergent adaptation of human lactase persistence in Africa and Europe". Nat. Genet. 39 (1): 31–40. doi:10.1038/ng1946. PMC 2672153. PMID 17159977.
  3. Srinivasan R, Minocha A (1998). "When to suspect lactose intolerance. Symptomatic, ethnic, and laboratory clues". Postgrad Med. 104 (3): 109–11, 115–6, 122–3. doi:10.3810/pgm.1998.09.577. PMID 9742907.
  4. Misselwitz B, Pohl D, Frühauf H, Fried M, Vavricka SR, Fox M (2013). "Lactose malabsorption and intolerance: pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment". United European Gastroenterol J. 1 (3): 151–9. doi:10.1177/2050640613484463. PMC 4040760. PMID 24917953.
  5. Mishkin B, Yalovsky M, Mishkin S (1997). "Increased prevalence of lactose malabsorption in Crohn's disease patients at low risk for lactose malabsorption based on ethnic origin". Am. J. Gastroenterol. 92 (7): 1148–53. PMID 9219788.

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