Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a genetic autoimmune disorder caused due to the body’s inability to process gluten that causes damage to the small intestine. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, can damage the lining of the small intestine which makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients such as iron, fat, calcium, and folate. The immune system mistakes substances inside gluten to be a threat to the body and attacks them, in turn, causing damage to the bowel surface and hampering the body’s ability to absorb nutrition.
Digestion problems, dermatitis herpetiformis, abdominal pain, weight loss, musculoskeletal problems, aphthous ulcers, iron deficiency, stunted growth, tingling sensation in the leg, and missed menstrual cycles are some of the symptoms of celiac disease. The disease can lead to various complications and health problems such as miscarriage or infertility, intestinal cancer, osteoporosis, seizures, gall bladder malfunction, neurological manifestation of the disease, stunted growth in children, and birth defects. Celiac disease can also lead to various autoimmune diseases such as lupus, thyroid disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. It is difficult to diagnose celiac disease in the initial stages as its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. Various sensitive and selective blood tests such as anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies with or without IgA level and IgA anti-endomysial antibodies are used to screen the disease.
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These tests detect auto-antibodies which are present in higher-than-normal levels in the blood of patients who have celiac disease. If the tests show positive results for celiac disease, a small bowel biopsy is done to confirm the diagnosis and determine the level of damage to the lining of the intestine. Approximately, 6 million people suffer from celiac disease in the U.S and Europe. Currently, no drugs, vaccines, or surgical treatments are available for the disease. Gluten free diet is recommended to control the symptoms and prevent long term effects of celiac disease. Immune-modulatory and other therapies are used for the treat the symptoms of celiac disease.
North America dominates the global market for celiac drugs due to rising incidence of celiac disease and lack of treatment options in the region. Asia is expected to show high growth rates in the next five years in global celiac drugs market, with China and India being the fastest growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The key driving forces for the celiac drugs market in developing countries are the large pool of patients, increasing awareness about the disease, and rising government funding in the region.
Increase in healthcare expenditure, changing lifestyles, increasing awareness about healthcare, and increasing number of initiatives by various governments and government associations are some of the key factors driving the growth of the global celiac drugs market. However, complex regulatory frameworks for the approval of drugs in most countries is a major restraint on the growth of the global celiac drugs market.
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Innovation of drugs to treat celiac disease would help develop opportunities for the global celiac disease market. The major companies operating in the global celiac drugs market are Alvine Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Alba Therapeutics Corporation, ImmusanT, and the Institute for Protein Design.