UCF Health recently added gastroenterology services to its spectrum of care when Dr. Le-Chu Su joined the practice. Dr. Su is a board-certified gastroenterologist with a career emphasis on inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), celiac disease, microscopic colitis and malabsorption disorders. Before joining UCF Health, she practiced at the Cleveland Clinic specialized in these areas. In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Su serves as associate professor of gastroenterology at the UCF College of Medicine.
“I love my job. I love being a gastroenterologist,” says Dr. Su. “It’s a very complex field, but when I can figure out what is happening with a patient and restore their quality of life, there is nothing better.”
And her expertise is needed. The number of people living with Inflamatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in America continues to grow, with about 700,000 new cases diagnosed each year in adults. In total, it is estimated that there are about 1.6 million people in the U.S. with IBD. Most are diagnosed before age 35. While the exact cause of IBD remains uncertain, it is known to be an interaction between genes, the immune system, and environmental factors. In people with IBD, the immune system has an abnormal response to things such as bacteria and viruses that results in inflammation of the intestinal tract. Symptoms vary based on severity and location of the inflammation, but the most common side effects include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, blood in your stool, and unintended weight loss. The pain and side effects can come and go with flare ups.
When it comes to specialized medical or surgical care for complex GI problems, the more experience a doctor has, the better your results are likely to be. Dr. Su has been practicing gastroenterology for more than 22 years. She earned her medical doctorate from Case Western Reserve University and is board-certified in gastroenterology, internal medicine and nutrition. She also earned a Ph.D. in nutrition from Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota. She is a diplomate in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine through the American Board of Internal Medicine and a diplomate in Physician Nutrition Specialist through the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists.
Before becoming a physician was even on her radar, she was interested in researching the role of nutrition in disease and disease prevention. After obtaining her Ph.D. in nutrition, she knew there was much more going on within the human body and disease processes, so she decided to continue her education to become a gastroenterologist with the goal of delivering the best care to patients.
“I love a challenge, and every patient is different,” she said. “Solving the challenge of each patient and making them well again is the greatest reward.”
It’s obvious that Dr. Su’s patients love her, too. Patients often tell her how she gave them their life back after diagnosing their condition and getting it under control.
Dr. Su treats patients at both UCF Health locations – the Medical City location in Lake Nona and the East Orlando location by the main UCF campus.