Gastroenterologists and team members from Florida Digestive Health Specialists took on the Gastroparesis Pie Face Challenge on Tuesday, August 6 to raise awareness for a little-known digestive disease. Gastroparesis is a debilitating disorder that paralyzes the stomach and slows or stops digestion entirely. Symptoms of gastroparesis can include severe vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, malnutrition and dehydration.
While studies estimate that 24 out of every 100,000 Americans have gastroparesis, it’s suspected that many more are suffering who haven’t been tested. Florida Digestive Health Specialists treats more than 500 patients every year with the disease.
“Gastroparesis can be devastating to quality of life and difficult to diagnose,” said Marc Bernstein, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Florida Digestive Health Specialists who participated in the challenge. “It’s important to raise awareness because patients can often suffer for years before seeking treatment.”
The Gastroparesis Pie Face Challenge was started in 2016 by Andrew Belliveau, a young man in Massachusetts who was diagnosed with gastroparesis as a child. That same year, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders designated August as Gastroparesis Awareness Month.