This year, National Sucrose Intolerance Week will be celebrated April 1 through 7. Another name for Sucrose Intolerance is Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID). CSID is a condition in which individuals are unable to digest white table sugar and starch. During National Sucrose Intolerance Week, the goal is to raise awareness about the symptoms of CSID and how to diagnose this disease.
CSID occurs when the body lacks two important enzymes – sucrase and isomaltase – that help the digestive system to break down sucrose and starch. The lack of awareness of CSID among medical professionals often delays diagnosis and access to treatment and care. Lack of awareness of CSID in the general population leaves patients, and the families of patients, feeling isolated and misunderstood. National Sucrose Intolerance Week aims to connect experts, researchers, clinicians, and patients to educate them about CSID and the symptoms of the disease.
If you are unfamiliar with the term “sucrose,” it is the chemical name for white table sugar. Scientifically, it is a disaccharide, which is a compound made up of two molecules; one part glucose and one part fructose. Sucrose is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It is extracted from sugar cane or sugar beet and added to processed foods to add sweetness and flavor.
Sucrose also has many functional uses in food production. It is used as a preservative in foods like jams and jellies because it blocks spoilage. It preserves the freshness of baked goods by reducing moisture loss. And it is used in the fermentation of beer and wine. An excellent list of foods that contain sucrose can be found on the Sucrose Intolerance website.
In infants and toddlers, CSID symptoms are generally first present when a child begins eating solid foods. Adults have similar symptoms, but often less severe as they have learned to cope (avoid certain symptom-causing foods) over the years. Typical symptoms of CSID include chronic abdominal pain, chronic, watery diarrhea, bloating, gassiness, and failure to thrive (poor physical growth). Unfortunately, these symptoms are similar to other digestive conditions and can lead to a misdiagnosis of chronic, nonspecific diarrhea (toddler’s diarrhea) in children or irritable bowel syndrome in older children and adults. The unfortunate consequence of a misdiagnosis is that individuals learn to live with the very uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms.
CSID is more prevalent than most people are aware. One sure way to understand your symptoms is to get the facts. There is a quiz available at www.sucroseintolerance.com. If you take this quiz to help you decide if you should talk to your doctor about CSID, it will allow you to get more information on the disease including a discussion guide to download. In addition, several tests can help in the diagnosis of CSID. Discuss these with your doctor. Having this information ahead of time, and being armed with facts about this disease is the best way to advocate for yourself and your symptoms.
For more information, head to www.sucroseintoleranceawareness.org. Help raise awareness of National Sucrose Intolerance Week by using the hashtag #sucrosintoleranceawareness when you post on social media.
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