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What Is CMPA

Milk is largely made up of milk carbohydrates or sugars called lactose. Lactose consists of two smaller sugars linked together – galactose and glucose. Special proteins in the body called enzymes are required to break down milk to its constituents to be used by the body for energy and growth.

However, some individuals may experience adverse reactions when their bodies react to certain milk components. These include cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA), lactose intolerance and galactosemia.
Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA)
Lactose Intolerance
Cow’s milk protien allergy (CMPA)
CMPA is a type of food allergy which occurs when the immune system overreacts to the protein in cow’s milk and is the most common allergy that affects children. The symptoms or reactions may occur in 2 stages:
Immediate Reaction
Happens within minutes following consumption of cow’s milk
Delayed Reaction
A late onset that happens hours (or even days) after consumption of cow’s milk
What are allergies? Which are the ones we should be aware of? While there are over 20 types of proteins in cow’s milk that may cause allergic reactions – casein and whey are the two main proteins responsible for the vast majority of Allergy 1. The common symptoms of CMPA are usually skin rashes, stomach upset, fussiness, gas or respiratory problems such as wheezing.
• Skin rash
• Abdominal pain
• Swelling of the lips and/or eyelids
• Runny nose
• Persistent cough
• Diarrhoea
• Wheezing
• Vomiting
• Constipation
• General irritability and food refusal
Although very uncommon, CMPA might cause a serious life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Some symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction are the swelling of face, mouth and tongue which subsequently lead to breathing difficulties.
Most children with CMPA outgrow their allergies by the age of 3. However, approximately one third of children will suffer from CMPA until they’re 12 years old while 12% remain allergic to cow’s milk until they’re 18 years old. There is also a possibility that some will retain the allergy for life.
Complete our Mini CMPA Checklist if you suspect your child is allergic to cow’s milk.
*These symptoms could also be caused by other medical problems. Please consult your doctor to confirm if your child has cow’s milk protein allergy.
Lactose Intolerance
Often CMPA is confused with lactose intolerance. However, they are two separate and distinct conditions.
Lactose Intolerance
A reaction of the immune system to cow’s milk protein
Inability to break down the milk sugar, lactose
Affects the digestive system as well as others systems in the body
Affects digestive system only
Can be life-threatening
Lactose intolerance refers to the body’s inability to digest lactose. This occurs when the body does not produce sufficient lactase, the enzyme required to digest lactose. In a lactose intolerant child, the lactose in milk cannot be digested and, as a result, accumulates in the guts to cause abdominal symptoms such as:
• Abdominal pain
• Diarrhea
• Flatulence
• Bloating
Galactosemia is a rare condition in which the body is unable to produce the enzyme required to break down galactose, a subunit of lactose. It is an inherited genetic disorder. Immediately consult your doctor if the your child exhibits the symptoms below:
• Lethargy
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Poor feeding
• Poor weight gain
• Yellow skin and whites of
the eyes (jaundice)
• Seizurtes
If a child with galactosemia is given milk, undigested galactose builds up in the body and may damage the liver, eyes, kidneys and brain. Compared to lactose intolerance, galactosemia is a more serious condition and may result in long-term or even permanent damage including speech and learning disabilities, neurological impairments, cataracts, diminished bone density, and ovarian failure in females.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered an ideal solution to manage CMPA, lactose intolerance and galactosemia- Replace cow’s milk with soy-based formula. Click here to learn more about soy-based formula.
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