SARASOTA -

 

"We’re taking the Gastroparesis Pie Face Challenge, so lets smash GP!" Dr. Bernstein said, before getting a whipped cream pie smashed in his face.

He says the chronic, debilitating disease affects fewer than 200,000 people a year.

“It means gastro, stomach, and paresis is partial paralysis, essentially. So it’s slow or nonexistent digestion in the stomach," Dr. Bernstein said.

Dr. Bernstein says though the number of confirmed cases is low, that doesn’t mean more people don’t have it. They may just not know it. He hopes taking a pie to the face will change that.

“This started with a young man who was struggling with the disease and noticed how the ALS challenge kind of caught a lot of people’s attention and wanted to do the same thing," Dr. Bernstein said.

So he brought it to Florida Digestive Health Specialists in Sarasota to help people who have the disease, whether or not they realize it.

“It’s a debilitating disease and those who suffer from it do have a lot of decreased quality of life," Dr. Bernstein said. "We can get the word out to talk to your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist."

They can help you learn about diet changes you can make or medications you can take, but there's no cure yet. Dr. Bernstein says make sure you have a doctor you trust. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and sometimes malnutrition.